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Australians tricked out of $229 million last year

Australians tricked out of $229 million last year

Australians were scammed out of more than $229m last year with the over 55s hardest hit, according to new data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

With scam losses on the increase, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), in its newly released Targeting Scams Report, has warned Australians to “wise up to scams”.

Bogus investment scams under the guise of new ventures, super, managed funds, property and shares, as well as online dating scams were the most common, with seniors the main target.

The figures were collated by the ACCC and include data from the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

The ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said these scams accounted for half of the money reported lost by over 55s in 2015.

“We are encouraging older Australians to wise up and watch out for scams that target them so they don’t have their hard earned savings stolen,” she said.

How to avoid investment scams

The ACCC advises people to avoid the following:

  • Sending money overseas for an investment offer that’s out of the blue
  • Feeling pressured into making an investment decision
  • Investing in a managed fund or other investment that’s not licensed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

“Scammers dress up ‘opportunities’ with professional looking brochures and websites to mask their fraudulent operations and trick unsuspecting Australians,” Rickard said.

How to avoid dating scams

Online dating scammers spend months, sometimes years, building a relationship with their victim.

To avoid this the ACCC suggests:

  • Running a search to check the authenticity of photos and identity of the person online
  • Don’t send money or personal information to anyone you meet online
  • Never share photos or videos that someone you meet online could use to blackmail you

“Cease contact with anyone that asks for money, no matter how you feel about them,” Rickard said.

“These scams pose a significant risk for Australians looking for investment opportunities, especially those looking to grow their retirement funds.”

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.