If you’ve received a scam call or text message this year, you are certainly not alone. new research by comparison site Finder, shows 75 per cent of Australians were contacted by a scammer either on a call or text message.
These findings have been released as we start Scams Awareness Week 2022 – a time set aside to educate Australians on how to spot a scam and what to do about it.
The Finder study surveyed 1058 Australians and revealed three in four had received a fraudulent text message or call this year.
That’s the equivalent of 15 million people.
But what did we do about it?
Only 21 per cent reported the scam and only four per cent realised it was a fraud.
Australians lost more than $2 billion to scammers in 2021 with $10 million of that coming from scam text messages, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Scamwatch also reported more than 50,000 phishing scams in 2022.
“Aussies have been inundated with fraudulent text and phone calls in recent years and know how easy it can be to fall victim to these scams,” says Finder money expert Sarah Megginson.
“Telcos are now taking a more active approach to deter these scams, but it’s still important to know how to spot one.”
The Australian Communications and Media Authority set out new rules on June 30 which required telcos to identify, trace and block SMS scams.
Telcos could face fines of up to $250,000 if they don’t comply with this new code.
Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim of a scam call or text message:
– Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers, let it go through to voicemail and check if the number matches a real business.
– Be careful to avoid the “Mum scam” which usually involves a message coming through on WhatsApp or Facebook claiming to be a relative who’s lost their phone and needs help. This scam alone reaped $2.6 million in the first seven months of the year.
– Don’t reply or click on links in text messages. These could take you malicious sites looking to harvest your personal data or link to viruses.
– You can spot a scam text message because it often contains poor grammar and bad spelling.
In the lead up to Christmas, online shoppers should be especially vigilant following the alarming rise in scams.
Finder says three in five Australians have already begun shopping for gifts with less than 50 days until Christmas.
“Sales frenzies can leave room for scammers to take advantage of shoppers rushing to bag a bargain and organise gifts in the leadup to the holiday season,” Megginson says.
“If you’re looking for the best deals online, you may come across some genuine-looking scam sites selling items at heavily discounted prices.
“If you’re unsure if the site is reputable, a quick Google search for reviews will generally bring you up to speed and can also help you identify if the products are legitimate.
“If you think you’ve been scammed, contact your bank and phone company immediately and report it to Scamwatch.”