Vodafone Australia has released a State of Scams report which alarmingly reveals 80 per cent of Australians have been a victim of an SMS scam while 75 per cent have been touched by phone fraud.
The SOS report found 44 per cent of Australians have lost between $10 and $49 to scammers with losses between $50 and $99 suffered by 14 per cent of respondents.
The highest losses of $10,000 or more have impacted 2 per cent of Australians.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from or your generation, fraudsters sending scam SMS and making scam calls are defrauding Australians every day,” said Vodafone Australia General Counsel and General Manager Corporate Security, Simone Sant.
“You don’t need to fall for an elaborate scheme and lose thousands of dollars to be scammed. In fact, most people lose anywhere between $10 to $49 per scam.
“Our SOS Report is a wake-up call to remind Australia that scams are widespread and can affect anyone.
“It is more crucial than ever for Australians to stay vigilant and be aware of the common tricks used by these scammers.”
And despite the scale of the problem, the SOS report found 75 per cent of victims are not reporting the fraud to police while just 41 per cent get in touch with the ACCC’s Scamwatch after being ripped off.
Vodafone has upped their game when it comes to busting scams with tools to help identify malicious traffic and block it using artificial intelligence.
So far, Vodafone’s systems have stopped 38.8 million scam text messages since the start of 2023 as well as six million scam phone calls.
But the research shows determined cyber criminals are still getting through to a third of Australians who, on average, receive at least one scam text or call per week.
The report found more than half of the scams were attempted to gain personal information and to trick victims into handing over personal or banking details to get at their money.
Almost half of those surveyed said they were targeted by scammers who said they were entitled to money or other assets but had to make upfront payments to access them.
Fake investment opportunities were seen by 42 per cent of respondents while one in three received scams based on buying or selling goods from a fake online source store.
A third were also targeted with travel, prizes and lottery scams where the victim is fooled into providing money or personal details in return for a prize from a lottery, sweepstake or competition.
So how do we stay safe?
Vodafone has come up with a “Three S” approach to help customers identify fraudulent texts and calls.
– Scrutinise: Be on the lookout for suspicious or unfamiliar numbers, names, or addresses.
– Strange: Stay alert to strange or unusual requests for financial and personal information.
– Seek: Seek out official phone numbers and websites when SMS or callers say they are from a specific organisation or company.