A new report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has shown that Australians may have lost a combined total in excess of $85 million to scams in 2011.
The watchdog organisation had been contacted more than 83,000 times by businesses owners and members of the public regarding fraudulent activities – more than double the number for 2010.
All told the total losses recorded by victims of scams was found to be $85,607,748 – and the actual total is probably much higher, as many victims do not report their losses as they do not want to publicise what could be seen as weak vulnerability management.
Perhaps the most telling statistic released in the report was that – while computer hacking scams accounted for 23.4 per cent of all complaints – there has also been significant growth in old-fashioned phone scams.
Chair of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce Dr Michael Schaper explained that this was a result of a shift away from high yield fraud targeting large firms and wealthy individual towards what he called "‘high volume" tactics.
Dr Schaper asserted: "The ACCC observed a shift from internet and email to telephone as the preferred method of scam delivery, assisted in part by the abuse of cheap or freely available voice-over-internet services."