The Australians “fax” scammers

How did scammers make money in 2017? well, according to ACCC’s report more than 200,000 scam reports were submitted to the ACCC, Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) and other federal and state-based government agencies in 2017. Total losses reported were $340 million – a $40 million increase compared to 2016.

Moreover, investment scams topped the losses at $64 million, an increase of more than 8 per cent. Dating and romance scams caused the second greatest losses at $42 million.

The report demographics:

  • The age range with the highest reported losses was the 55–64 range which reported losses of $21.6 million.
  • Where gender was provided, women reported more scams but lost less money than men. Women reported 85,495 scams and reported losses of $37.9 million. Men reported 72,282 scams and reported losses of $51.3 million.
  • Women reported losing most to dating and romance scams with $12.7 million in losses, while men were most affected by investment scams, reporting losses of $22.8 million.
  • In 2017, Indigenous consumers reported $1.6 million in losses (across 1,810 reports). This represents a 12 per cent increase over the $1.4 million reported losses (across 1,499 reports) in 2016.

Contact methods:

  • The top two contact methods used by scammers in 2017 were phone (40 per cent) and emails (31 per cent). Phone-based scam reports numbered 65,097 with $29.1 million in reported losses. Email-based scam reports numbered 50,635 with $17.4 million in reported losses.
  • Phone call and text message-based scams increased in 2017 by 14,227 reports, but email-based scams decreased by 3,433 reports.
  • Phishing and identity theft scams were the most prevalent of phone-based scams with 20,220 reports but investment scams conducted over the phone resulted in the highest reported losses of $17 million.
  • When combined, online-based contact methods (those delivered via email, social media, mobile apps and the internet) amounted to 68,351 reports (representing 42 per cent of all reports) and $49.9 million in reported losses.
  • Reports about scams where contact was made via ‘social networking/online forums’ numbered 4,711 in 2017 with $15.7 million in reported losses.
  • Fax-based scams still occurred even in 2017 but only represented 0.1 per cent of reported scams. These scams are usually targeted at businesses.

The fax punch line is amazing. Please find attached a link for the full report.