Australians were tricked out of AUD 82 million (roughly Rs. 417 crores) last
year, with online dating scams accounting for the biggest losses, the
competition regulator revealed Monday.
More than 91,000 scam
complaints were received in 2014, figures from the Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) showed.
fell eight percent on the previous year, one tenth of those who reported
being targeted were tricked out of more than AUD 10,000 (roughly Rs. 5 lakhs) and for 14
people, the losses exceeded AUD 500,000 (roughly Rs. 2.5 crores).
ACCC deputy chairman
Delia Rickard said most people were reeled in by romance-based cons,
with fraudsters making AUD 28 million (roughly Rs. 14 crores) by tricking people into sending
money to a false admirer.
This was followed by get-rich-quick
investment schemes, although the ACC said real losses were likely much
higher than reported as many people may not realise they had been ripped
off or were too embarrassed to admit it.
"There is a common misconception that scam victims are only the greedy and gullible," said Rickard.
can fall victim to a scam and we are all vulnerable at some time in our
lives to those unscrupulous individuals willing to take advantage of
our better nature or simple mistakes."
Surprisingly, most of the
reported frauds - 53 percent - were solicited over the phone, via calls
or text message, while 38 percent were online.
warned that more and more scammers were using information found online
to con people, not only going after their money but also their personal
"Increasingly, scammers are using personal
information gleaned from social media profiles to target victims for a
fraudulent relationship or investment," she said.
constantly 'phishing' for your personal details such as your name,
address and birthdate and this will only increase to as your personal
data becomes more valuable to them."
Rickard urged people to "get
smarter with your data and keep it out of the hands of scammers,"
although she warned the global nature of today's scams made it difficult
to bring people to justice.