Scam damages in Australia have been steadily growing in the last 4 years. However, last year’s losses surged by more than two times. The reason being, millions of people shifted towards remote work and, in turn, created many new attack vectors for cybercriminals.
According to data presented by the Atlas VPN research team, Australians lost over $176 (AUD) million to scams in 2020. In total, Aussies reported more than 216 thousand fraud cases, with 10.7% of the reports including financial losses.
Rachel Welch, COO of Atlas VPN, said: “In general, the year 2020 was a rollercoaster ride. However, cybercriminals used this commotion as an opportunity to find new ways to scam panicking citizens.”
The year 2020 was a record year in terms of monetary losses and the number of scams in Australia. Aussies lost $97 million more in 2020 compared to 2019, representing a 123% increase.
Australia’s citizens aged 65 and over lost most to scams, at $37.65 million, constituting over 21% of the total losses in 2020. Next up are 45 to 54-year-olds, who sustained $32.3 million in monetary losses last year. Third place goes to citizens ages 55 to 64, and they lost a total of $28.38 million to fraudsters.
On a similar note, nearly half of the scams reported (103 thousand) were carried out via phone, with investment scams being the most damaging. Fraudsters use various scam methods to trick people into giving away their hard-earned money. Last year, investment scams swindled most money out of unsuspecting victims, at more than $66.44 million.
Scammers took the opportunity presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to lure victims into investment scams. There are various types of investment fraud. The most common examples are Ponzi schemes, fake CD scams, bogus stock promotions, and community-based financial scams.