ACCC updates Scamwatch website to boost protection

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2015

An improved Scamwatch website unveiled this week by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) aims to bolster protection efforts against scam artists who target small businesses and individuals.

The update includes a “Scamwatch radar alerts” service, which allows users to sign up and receive regular email updates on trending scams.

www.scamwatch.gov.au hosts a monthly statistics feed — financial losses from scams hit $6,362,371 in June — and a detailed list of the different types of scams affecting taxpayers.

Users can also visit an added “learn from real life stories” section, which features cautionary tales from scam victims like “Georgina”.

“Georgina’s Facebook fiancé [left] her flat broke,” the story reads. “If you’ve only ever met online, you need to take extra precautions to protect yourself. Don’t let scammers take advantage of your better nature and steal your money.”

The update comes alongside a report from the ACCC that found 45,743 scam complaints have been registered this year, culminating in an overall registered loss of $45,902,666.
 
The report said 45.1% of scams were delivered by telephone, and 33.1% by email.

“For the first time, the ACCC has published data on common scams that are causing the most harm in Australia, which will be updated every month on Scamwatch. This tool will help you keep one step ahead of the scammers,” ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard said.

“Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels across Australia. There’s no one group of people who are more likely to become a victim of a scam and all of us may be vulnerable to a scam at some time.”