Social Media Scams on Rise in Australia

After scammers targeting people online for investments, now they have turned to social media. Almost everyone uses social media these days making them the perfect prey to scams related to love and romance. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has reported that Australian have lost around $300 million last year to scammers from social media. In the year 2016, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission received about 200,000 reports of online scams. This number was about 47% more than that of 2015.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has said that the scammers are increasingly targeting Australians using social media with scams related to dating and romance. This has alone caused a loss of $42 million to Australia. This is a little lower than investment scams standing at around $59 million in past few years.

Deputy chair Delia Rickard talked about the ongoing scenario saying that in most of the cases the victims were targeted through social media. In total, 30 per cent of romance scams are done through social media sites. Talking about this he said that the scammers target the victims in false trap of love thus winning their trust. He said, “Dating and romance scammers trick their victims into falling in love with them and then use their victim’s trust to deceitfully take their money”.

He also said that many victims were targeted by giving some very good to be true offers. One must always be aware of what they are doing online. Whenever any offer is made, make sure to do full research about the organisation or the company from which the offer has been extended. He also said that scams related to non-existent products have also been on the rise. “Wherever you see an offer that seems more generous than normal, do your research on the company, where the product is coming from, check the company’s website and try and find any reviews about the business before making a purchase. Only pay using secure payment methods such as Paypal or a credit card,” Ms Rickard said.

It is always better to do a quick background search and also make sure to keep yourself aware of what are the current popular scams. Upon knowing of any scam, you can report the same to Scamwatch. The Commission is also working with major financial service providers like Paypal and the Western Union to tackle such scams.

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