#1 fund for weathering market ups and downs3
SuperRatings' Pension of the Year three years in a row4
Australians have lost more than $132 million to scammers this year to November.1 Find out how to stay safe from scams.
Losses to online shopping scams have increased 42%2 in 2020, causing the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch to warn Australians to be careful when buying gifts this holiday season.
Scamwatch figures show over 12,000 reports of online shopping scams in 2020 to November, with almost $7 million in reported losses.
ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on shopping habits may have contributed to the rise.
“More people have been shopping online this year due to COVID-19 restrictions and scammers are now targeting people doing their Christmas shopping, including in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales,” Ms Rickard said.
Online shopping scams involving consumer goods such as shoes, phones, computers, clothing, and toys were high. But she warned the most common thing people were trying to buy when they were scammed was puppies and other pets.
The ACCC has urged people to be aware of scams by identifying when you are being set up. Signs to look out for include behaviours designed to extract information from you or your trust.
The ACCC warned that scammers:
Source: ACCC, Scamwatch, Spot the scam signs
The most common scams reported in the six months to November 2020 were phishing scams, where scammers trick victims into giving out personal information.
Threats to life, identity theft, online shopping scams and false billing rounded out the five most common scams to November 2020.
Investment scams and dating and romance scams were the most financially damaging scams, with scammers increasingly using technology, including social media, to access potential victims.
Investment scam losses amounted to more than $49 million to November 2020.
Combined losses for dating and romance scams were more than $31 million.
Source: ACCC, Scamwatch, 2020 scam statistics
Over 65s lost the most to scammers, the figures for 2020 showed. Scams cost people aged 65 and over more than $27.4 million in 2020 to November.
People aged 25 to 34 made the most reports of scams, followed by people aged 35 to 44.
People aged 24 and under reported the highest number of scams involving phones and computers.
Women reported more scams to authorities, but men lost more to scammers than women. Men lost more than $67.1 million while women reported losses of $64.6 million, the figures show.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said scammers may be hoping that you had let your guard down during the coronavirus pandemic.3
Since March 2020, scammers were doing things such as falsely selling coronavirus-related products online, and using fake emails or text messages to try and obtain personal data.
Other scams included phishing emails and phone calls impersonating the World Health Organisation, government authorities, and legitimate businesses – including travel agents and telecommunications companies.
“Do not provide your personal, banking or superannuation details to strangers who have approached you. Scammers may pretend to have a connection with you. So it’s important to stop and check, even when you are approached by what you think is a trusted organisation,” the ACCC warned on its Scamwatch website.
Scammers pretend to be government agencies providing information on COVID-19 through text messages and emails ‘phishing’ for your information. The messages contain malicious links and attachments designed to steal your personal and financial information.
Scammers pretend to be from real businesses such as banks, travel agents, insurance providers and telco companies and use various excuses around COVID-19 to ask for your personal and financial information, lure you into opening malicious links or attachments, gain remote access to your computer, or seek payment for a fake service or something you did not purchase.
Scammers take advantage of people in financial hardship due to COVID-19 by attempting to steal superannuation or by offering unnecessary services and charging a fee. The majority of these scams start with an unexpected call claiming to be from a superannuation or financial service and use a variety of excuses to request information about your superannuation accounts.
Scammers try to take advantage of the Australia Government’s early-access to superannuation measures through phishing scams designed to steal your superannuation.
Scammers create fake online stores claiming to sell products that don’t exist such as cures or vaccinations for COVID-19 as well as products such as face masks.
Source: ACCC, Scamwatch, Current COVID-19 scams
If you think you are being targeted by a scam, here’s where to get help.
The opinions expressed are the ACCC’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the QSuper Board. No responsibility is taken for the accuracy of any of the information supplied and you should seek advice for your circumstances.
1. Figures sourced from Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Scamwatch, Scam Statistics
2. Media Release, 24 November 2020, Watch out for online shopping scams this holiday season, ACCC, at www.scamwatch.gov.au
3. Media Release, 20 March 2020, Warning on COVID-19 scams, ACCC, at www.accc.gov.au
Financial abuse can happen to anyone, no matter how much money they have or how educated they may be.
Recover your early super withdrawal.
10 simple saving measures to support your financial health in 2021
Learn how super applies to your long-service leave.