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Focus on online fraud

13 November 2017

Fraud can take many forms, including corporate fraud, consumer fraud, tax fraud, identity theft and many others.

Scams and other frauds have soared in recent years with our constant connectivity making us vulnerable targets.

A recent report shows that in the Asia Pacific region, Australia has the third highest average loss to fraud ($245,000), behind Western Europe ($263,000) and the Middle East/North Africa ($275,000). And fraud is considered to be the most expensive and most prosecuted crime in Australia, despite the fact the Western Australia Police Force estimates that only 25% of frauds are actually reported.

So far in 2017, Australians have lost over $64 million to scams—a common type of fraud. According to Scamwatch the most common scams are phishing, identity theft and false billing.

We know the online environment gives fraudsters access to information they would not otherwise have, leading to new types of frauds and scams appearing all the time—some are obvious while others are harder to spot. Social media is a source of almost endless information about our lives and our personal details, which gives identity fraudsters everything they need to impersonate us

The online environment also dramatically increases the reach of traditional scams, such as fake charity and fraudulent investment schemes. Before the internet, these frauds occurred on a one-on-one basis; often face-to-face or by phone. Now, fraudsters are targeting thousands of people with just one email.

How to stay safe

  • Always be on the lookout for possible scams or fraud. Don’t open messages or click on links if you don’t know the sender, or if you’re not expecting them.
  • Be especially suspicious of messages that:
    • are not addressed to you directly or misspell your name
    • ask you to provide your banking details or other personal information
    • promise you money
    • present hard luck or exotic stories telling you that you can share in hidden millions!
  • Don’t accept friend or contact requests on social media from people you don’t know.
  • Be mindful of how much information you share on social media and ensure your account settings are set to private.
  • Remember to use strong passwords, take steps to protect your computer and use safe behaviour when you’re on the web.

Learn more

Use the following resources to learn more about scams and how to protect yourself:

You can also sign up to our free, email alert service to stay up-to-date on current cyber risks.

Read more about International Fraud Awareness Week, including global fraud levels across different sectors and the staggering cost of fraud.

Report fraud

Make sure you report any fraud to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN). You may not be aware of the full extent of the damage and what information may have been stolen from you.