An increase in scam phone calls, texts, emails and other forms of scams has members of the public tearing their hair out trying to navigate everyday life.
Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) every year scams cost Australians millions of dollars and cause considerable non-financial harm.
The ACCC has seen the devastating effects scams can have on people and their families.
One of the best ways to combat this type of fraud, according to the ACCC is to stay one step ahead of the scammers by being aware of scams and how to protect themselves.
The newest scam taking Australia by storm is ‘number spoofing’ where victims are receiving phone calls from what looks like an Australian phone number but is really hiding a different number.
Victims are finding that if they return the call, the real owner of the phone number answers causing confusion and chaos as the owner has not made the initial phone call.
Last week was scam awareness week, and now more than ever scams are prevalent.
Scamwatch are encouraging Australians to start a conversation about scams to reduce stigma and help people recognise a scam sooner or prevent scams from happening in the first place.
In 2020 Australians made more than 216,000 reports to Scamwatch and reported losses of around $178 million.
By the end of September this year, Australians had lost even more, Scamwatch received more than 226,000 reports with reported losses of over $222 million.
As alarming as these numbers are, around one third of people who are scammed never tell anyone, so the true numbers are probably much higher.
One of the reasons someone who’s been scammed might not report it is that people can feel shame or embarrassment about what has happened to them.
However, by talking about scams residents can reduce the stigma and work together to stop them.
Federal Member for Burt, Matt Keogh said he and everyone he knows have been getting hammered by scams through text messages, fake phone calls and emails.
“Across the country we know that billions of dollars are being lost to criminals – some $33 billion last year alone,” he said.
“It has to stop and we need government to take it seriously.
“My office has been receiving many complaints from our community about scam activity and there’s really not a lot that can be done about it – it’s unbelievably frustrating.
“Federal Labor wants to do something about it. We will establish a tough cop on the beat – an anti-scam centre to ensure that in real time we’re monitoring and stopping this illegal activity.
“A Federal Labor Government will introduce the policies to ensure that people can shop online safely, can pick up the phone or answer a text message without fear of being fooled.”