THE best way of avoiding becoming a scam victim it seems, is to get rid of your computer, your home phone, your mobile phone and your fax machine and move to a deserted island, impose a no-fly zone to prevent blimps and light aircraft from delivering aerial scam messages and also ignore any bottles that wash up.
If you don’t want to take the deserted-island option to avoid scams, here are a few facts that you need to consider.
The evidence is that the older you get, the more likely you are to fall victim. People aged 65 and over made the most reports (46,286) to Scamwatch and lost more money than any other age group with almost $82 million reported lost.
This means that the older you are the more likely you are to be targeted, which means you need to be extra vigilant.
Scammers use every method under the sun, but they’re most successful when they ring you up, whether that is on a good old home phone or on your mobile phone. Scamwatch received 144,603 reports of phone scams which is half of all reports. Losses because of phone scams were $100 million.
So, distrust your phone the most. Don’t think that by not having a mobile phone, you’ll be safe. Scammers like your home phone as much as you do.
Text messaging was the second most common contact method for scammers, with 67,180 reports in 2021, double the number of reports in 2020.
This means that a mobile phone offers scammers the most options to target you, if we include social media scams (they cost Australian $56 million in 2021) and email (more than 40,000) reports.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) research found that 96 per cent of people it randomly surveyed had been contacted or exposed to scammers in the last five years. More than one-in-five had become a victim. More than half did not recover any money lost, while one-in-three did not report they had fallen victim.
Since 2021, the ACCC has been providing more tailored referrals for vulnerable scams victims to support services, including ID Support NSW.