The average scam victim loses $4,307, according to a Real Insurance survey of 1,095 Aussies, while nearly half (45%) of those affected are unable to recover anything.
Only 27% of survey respondents said they did not know anyone who had been targeted by online, email or phone scams.
The ACCC have reported Aussies lost more than $3 billion to scams in 2022, with the average victim losing close to $20,000, but this is based on those reported to Scamwatch.
More than a quarter (27%) of the Real Insurance survey respondents did not report the scam to the authorities.
Based on a sample size of 3,698 Aussies who had been targeted, phishing or smishing (fake calls or messages to trick you into providing sensitive information) was the most common method scammers were using, making up 50% of the scams.
Another 38% reported online shopping scams, like fake sites, unauthorised transactions or fake payment requests, 32% were targeted by technical support scams and 23% by social media hacking.
More than half (51%) of those affected reported negative effects on their mental health and wellbeing, with 17% saying the effect was 'considerable'.
Cyber security expert at Real Insurance, Susan McLean, said the impact of scams on the community can't be overstated.
"In addition to suffering significant monetary losses, those who fall victim to scams are often humiliated and embarrassed which provides a barrier to help seeking actions," Ms McLean said.
Technology giving criminals new ways to defraud Australians
The research found 69% of Australians aged over 18 have a 'high level' of fear about online risks.
Less than half (46%) said they were very or extremely confident they have a good understanding of the risk involved with their online activities.
Online or mobile fraud is becoming increasingly sophisticated, with technology helping scammers continually evolve their tactics to keep catching people out.
Last year saw record losses to this type of fraud, and ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said this was partly due to "alarming new tactics" which are making scams harder to detect.
"This includes everything from impersonating official phone numbers, email addresses and websites of legitimate organisations to scam texts that appear in the same conversation thread as genuine messages," Ms Lowe said.
At the start of August, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) announced its member banks had come together to establish an industry standard to prevent, detect and disrupt fraudulent activity.
Aussie banks are employing new initiatives to identify high risk scam indicators quickly, blocking suspicious transactions to try to mitigate the potential losses.
The ACCC gave its approval for Aussie banks to coordinate their efforts, which ABA representatives say will help keep more Aussies safe from scams.
"The ACCC’s authorisation will allow banks to focus on more collective initiatives to prevent and disrupt scams, as well as work with telcos, social media and crypto platforms on initiatives those industries can take to stop scams at the source,” an ABA spokesperson told Savings.com.au.
Are we staying scam savvy?
There were a few different precautions survey respondents said they were taking to protect themselves from being ripped off online.
- 57% say they are cautious about the type of information they post online, as well as who can access it.
- 55% educated themselves on the most common scams, and are vigilant in what to look out for.
- 52% regularly review online accounts and credit reports for any unusual activity.
- 45% keep themselves informed on the latest digital threats and best practices.
Just over 10% of survey respondents said they did not take any precautions to help protect themselves from being ripped off online.
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