By Juliano Oliveira
An amount of AU$ 95 million worth has ended up on the hands of scammers acting all over Australia from January to August this year. By the end of 2019, according to an estimation of the ACCC (Australian Competition& Consumer Commission), these numbers will exceed $532 million, surpassing half a billion dollars for the first time.
“People need to update their idea of what a scam is so that we are less vulnerable. Scammers are professional businesses dedicated to ripping us off. They have call centres with convincing scripts, staff training programs, and corporate performance indicators their ‘employees’ need to meet.”, says the ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
Investments scams, such as “Facebook lottery” scams, the “Loom” pyramid scheme, and cryptocurrency scams stand out as being the preferable tricks employed by organisations.
Scammers use aggressive or rude behaviour, or threaten taxpayers with arrest, jail or deportation.Their field of action is mostly on the phone and the internet. People over 65 are the main target and susceptible to these attacks.
“The current scam will often demand payment of varying amounts – usually in the amount of several thousand dollars. However, once a payment is made the scammers will frequently contact the victim again and attempt to obtain a further payment. We have a report of one elderly taxpayer who paid in excess of $235,000 over a 5 month period”, alerts ATO (Australian Taxation Office).
Both ATO and ACCC have been gathering forces to eradicate scammers systems in Australia. Information has been used as a tool to raise awareness among the population. If you are in doubt about an interaction you have had with someone claiming to be from the ATO, or you think you have fallen victim to an ATO Impersonation scam, you can call us to verify this on 1800 008 540 between 8.00am–6.00pm, Monday to Friday.
ACCC also suggests that people check ASIC’s list of companies you should not deal with. If the company that contacted you is on the list — do not deal with them, and even if they are not listed, continue researching and speak to a financial advisor before investing.