Warning to all seniors to be mindful of scammers

Shocking figures from the Australian Competition and Consumer Competition (ACCC)’s ‘Targeting Scams Report’ show that Australians aged 55-65 are most likely to experience loss from scams and those aged over 65 have lodged the highest number of reports.

In 2017, the combined financial loss to scams was $340 million with the highest loss emerging from investment scans. And the top contact methods by scammers were by phone (40%), email (31%) and text message (12%).

For older Australians aged 55+ years, the following table illustrates the impact of the four main scams on this age group:

Impact of four main scams on older Australians aged 55+ years
Reported loss Reports Reports with loss Average loss
Investment scams $13,591,265 506 162 $83,896
Dating and romance $9,683,475 1,063 270 $35,864
Other buying and selling scams $708,556 2,360 374 $1,894
Threats to life, arrest or other $201,916 2,417 20 $10,095
Total $24,185,212 6346 826 $29,279

Here are some steps provided by the ACCC to help protect yourself from falling victim to scams:

  • Think twice before handing over any personal information
  • Never give anyone you don’t know access to your computer
  • Be wary of transferring money online unless it is to a secure site
  • Don’t be taken in by the prospect of a surprise win
  • Be wary of anyone who asks you to pay in iTunes vouchers or gift cards
  • Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • And if something doesn’t feel right, hang up the phone or hit delete.

If you think you have been scammed, contact your financial institution, the ACCC’s Scamwatch, or the police (000) immediately.

Source: Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (2018). Targeting scams: Report of the ACCC on scams activity 2017. Retrieved from hwww.accc.gov.au/system/files/F1240_Targeting%20scams%20report.PDF