This report provides key findings into 2019 scams, as well as insights into scam trends over the decade. It also includes commentary on the psychological tactics that scammers use to manipulate victims and the lessons learned from people who reported a scam but did not lose money or personal information.
Scammers continue to adapt their strategies and technology use. In the past scams have relied on persuading a victim to hand over money or personal information. While this is still the norm, many scams, including phone porting scams, now operate with limited contact or none at all, making it difficult for targets to recognise and avoid them. A key pillar in scam prevention is the importance of telling others about scam experiences, or ‘word of mouth’. Many people who avoided scams did so because their friends or family had told them about the scams, or that the approach or experience seemed suspicious. Also, the psychology of scams was explored to better understand how scammers manipulate their victims. Scams are a whole-of-community problem and governments, industry and business all have a role in preventing them. It is not enough to react to scams; it takes a joint effort to find ways to disrupt them early or prevent them. Only then the significant financial and emotional harm that Australians experience as a result of being scammed can be limited.
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