Technology

Thu, 23 May, 2019Courtney Allan

The shocking new way scammers are tricking their victims into handing over cash

The shocking new way scammers are tricking their victims into handing over cash

Scammers are going to new levels to catch people out. Many Australians know that if a call is asking whether or not their computer is infected and it needs remote support, that’s a scam call.

However, scammers are bypassing this by saying that they are the ones trying to catch the scammers.

With losses from all scams hitting almost half a billion dollars last year, people are unfortunately getting caught out.

Scammers are now impersonating police or Telstra staff working with the authorities. They then claim that the victim’s computer has been hacked by scammers and that they can help track them down.

The victims of the scam are then tricked into providing access to their computer and sending money, so the scammers are able to be “traced”. This is according to the latest scams report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Overall, Australians lost a record $489.7 million to scams in 2018. This is up from the $340 million reported to the ACCC the year before.

"These record losses are likely just the tip of the iceberg," ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said to Yahoo!

"We know that not everyone who suffers a loss to a scammer reports it to a government agency."

Investment scams are the most harmful financially, with a reported loss of $86 million, followed by dating and romance scams at $60.5 million.

Ms Rickard said scammers are adapting old scams to new technology, seeking payment through unusual methods and automating scam calls to increase their reach to potential victims.

Australians who are older, Indigenous or have disabilities have also reported record losses in 2018. Australians over the age of 65 submitted over 26,4000 reports to Scamwatch, with losses of over $21.4 million.

“Scammers will scour dating sites and social media for older Australians who have recently divorced or lost a long term partner, taking advantage of those who are inexperienced with these sites and may be in a vulnerable emotional state,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said to Scamwatch.

“Investment scams are the most financially harmful because the scammers invest time and money into convincing sales pitches, flashy websites and even glossy brochures.”