One in three Australians has been the victim of fraud

Australians are increasingly falling victim to scammers, with a staggering sum being paid to cybercriminals this year.

Almost one in three Australians has been hit by a financial scam, a study by RateCity.com.au shows.

Twenty-nine percent of 1,000 people surveyed admitted they had been scammed through credit card hacks, identity theft and money transfer scams.

In the last 12 months, Australians handed over $526.3 million to scammers, a staggering 88 percent increase over the same period in 2021, when $266.7 million was scammed, according to ACCC’s Scamwatch.

People should be extra careful with their money during the holiday season, says Sally Tindall, Research Director at RateCity.com.au.

“Scammers don’t take vacations so it might be a good time to put your feet up and relax, but people should be on their guard when it comes to scams.

“Whether it’s texting, emailing, or social media posting, think before you click,” she says.

Australians looking to make Boxing Day sales should also be aware of who they are giving their financial information to.

“The post-Christmas sales can be a great time to snap up a bargain, but it’s also a good time for scammers to catch people,” says Ms Tindall.

“When shopping online, question everything. Is this a website that I recognize and trust? Is the payment option secure? Does the website unnecessarily ask for personal or financial details? If anything looks suspicious, close the browser and walk away.

“Check your bank statements regularly and ask questions if you see a suspicious transaction. Often it’s just a business with a funny trade name, but it’s better to feel stupid for a moment questioning it than potentially being robbed of thousands of dollars.”

Phishing, a practice where a scammer sends a fake message to trick someone into revealing sensitive information, has proven extremely effective for scammers, with 66,649 reports of the tactic in 2022.

The method can include emails or texts that appear to be from an official company or from a loved one.

Investment fraud costs Australians the most, with reported financial losses of US$351.6 million.

If you suspect you have been the victim of a scam, contact your bank immediately as they may stop any pending transactions and freeze your account.

Originally published as 1 in 3 Australians have been victims of fraud

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