Scams cost Queenslanders $18.5 million dollars

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Queenslanders lost almost $18.5 million dollars to scammers in 2018, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Targeting Scams report.

The report revealed Australians aged 55 and over were the most vulnerable, accounting for 48% of all victims.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said the amount of money Australians lose to scams each year is increasing.

“Total combined losses reported to Scamwatch and other government agencies exceeded $489 million – $149 million more than 2017,” Ms Rikard said.

“These record losses are likely just the tip of the iceberg. 

“We know that not everyone who suffers a loss to a scammer reports it to a government agency.”

Investment scams were the most financially devastating for Queenslanders with $6.9 million in losses, up 24% from 2017.

Dating and romance scams accounted for $4.4 million in loss, an increase of 39% on the previous year.

“Scammers will scour dating sites and social media for older Australians who have recently divorced or lost a long-term partner, taking advantage of those who are inexperienced with these sites and may be in a vulnerable emotional state,” Ms Rikard said.

Scammers are increasingly asking for payment via gift cards, such as iTunes, Google Play and Amazon, and cryptocurrency to avoid the fraud and scam detection systems employed by banks.

“If anyone asks for payment using a gift card, it is a scam, simple as that,” Ms Rickard said.

“If you paid a scammer with a gift card, report it as soon as possible.

“Call the company that issued the gift card and tell them the gift card was used in a scam.

“It’s very difficult to get your money back but the sooner you report it, the better your chances.”

If you think you have been scammed visit www.scamwatch.gov.au to make a report and find out what steps you can take to protect yourself from further loss. 

Scams that cost Queenslanders the most in 2018