Updates

Queenslanders lose millions to scammers in 2020

Queensland Government media release

Queenslanders lost more than $32 million to scammers in 2020, according to the latest Targeting Scams Report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman wants Queenslanders to protect themselves from scammers who do not discriminate in who they target, or how they operate.

“Scamming is big business and our best defence against these con artists is to understand their modus operandi and be alert to spotting new scam trends,” the Attorney-General said.

“In 2020, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) noted an increase in reports of scams during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly fake online stores, phone calls by scammers pretending to be from trusted organisations or government agencies, scams via email and text, and itinerant trader scams.”

Scammers are always finding new ways to take people’s money, with losses by Queenslanders up from $27.3 million in 2019 to $32.1 million in 2020.

“While the report revealed that Queenslanders reported more than 39,000 scams to Scamwatch, research shows that 33 percent of people who lose money to a scam will not report it – so figures in this report underestimate the extent of the loss,” Minister Fentiman said.

The national top three scams in 2020 (by the amount lost) were investment, dating and romance and false billing scams.

For every scam reported by Queenslanders that involved a financial loss, the average loss was almost $8,330, which makes Queensland the state with the highest average loss.

Scam numbers continue to rise and scammers are always refining their tactics and techniques to get consumers to fall for their ploys.

“If something seems not right with a phone call, an email, text or a pop-up, the take time to consider who you dealing with,” Minister Fentiman said.

“Delete, do not respond or click any links. Talk to your friends and family about what you’ve seen and what they’ve experienced and check online with Scamwatch for advice about the latest scams.

If you think you’ve been scammed – even an attempt – please visit the OFT website or use the online form on the Scamwatch website to make a report.

For more information, or to download the report visit the Scamwatch website.