The Chair of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce, Ms Louise Sylvan, said that the results of the ABS survey results on Personal Fraud showed how clearly consumer fraud has become a major concern.
“This survey, commissioned by the Taskforce, is the first occasion in Australia where we have had absolutely reliable statistics about the extent to which Australians are exposed and are victims to scams and frauds, including identity theft.
The ABS found that almost 6 million people are exposed to scams and frauds during any given year, with over 800,000 falling victim in some way. The financial losses are of major concern – with almost $1 billion in losses – a good part of which will go out of the Australian economy.
“While the normal kind of frauds still persists, mass-marketed global fraud is a new phenomenon that consumer protection and police agencies have not encountered before historically.
“Mass-market frauds and scams represent a serious problem from the perspective of the private sector as well. That is why over 40 private sector businesses join with the Taskforce each year in the co-ordinated campaign to help consumers avoid these scams and frauds.
Lotteries, pyramid schemes and phishing attacks top the list of these scams (which also follows the general complaints data from consumers). “Given that so many of these criminal perpetrators are not easily in the reach of Australian enforcement agencies, consumers need to be more vigilant than ever,” Ms Sylvan said.