26 September 2023

Scammers scramble with stolen millions

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A new report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has found that last year scammers stole close to $34 million collectively from people who identified as culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), people with disability and Indigenous Australians.

The ACCC’s Targeting Scams report shows losses to the CALD community represented a 60 per cent increase compared to 2019, across 11,700 reports.

Deputy Chair of the ACCC, Delia Rickard said some members of CALD communities suffered higher losses on average than the overall community, accounting for one in every eight dollars lost.

“Unfortunately, scheming scammers try to target people who, by virtue of their background, disadvantage, language skills or disability, may experience vulnerability and be more likely to fall for their tricks,” Ms Rickard said.

Investment scams were responsible for $6.3 million in losses, the most costly type of scam for the CALD community.

This was followed by threat-based scams and people from CALD communities lost $6 million to these scams — up 248 per cent from 2019.

Ms Rickard said the Chinese authority scam was a common threat-based scam which cost people from the CALD community $4.3 million last year.

“These scammers impersonate Chinese authorities and accuse their victims of committing a crime, such as sending a parcel with illegal goods like fake credit cards, and threaten them with deportation or arrest unless they pay money or provide their personal information,” she said.

“We received over 2,000 reports about Chinese authority scams in total last year with $7 million lost and almost a quarter of these were from people with a CALD background.”

Ms Rickard said it showed that the scams continued to disproportionately target Mandarin speakers in Australia.

The ACCC’s 95-page Targeting Scams report can be accessed at this PS News link and an audio version can be accessed at this link.

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