Scammers need to be stopped

THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has launched a new campaign to disrupt scammers who are conning millions of dollars from Australians every year.
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A successful trial saw the ACCC team up with businesses to firstly identify people who appeared to be at risk of being conned and then secondly to issue warning letters to those would-be victims.

Romance scams, in financial terms, account for more than a quarter of all the money Australians lost to scammers last year.

These wannabe Romeos are ripping off unwary Australians for about $25 million a year in romance scams, but all up these grubs snaffled a heart-breaking $90 million.

So if you’re sending thousands of dollars via an international wire transfer to someone in, say, western Africa, after forming an online relationship with them, you can expect the ACCC to drop you a line asking if you’re completely confident you’re not going to be scammed.

The ACCC’s fifth annual report on scam activity in Australia highlights the significant harm that these rip-offs continue to cause to our community.

According to the report, in 2013 nearly 92,000 scam-related reports were received by the ACCC, an increase of almost 10 per cent from 2012, although the amounts of cash they snaffled reportedly dropped.

“Actual losses are likely to be much higher than what is reported to the ACCC – people report scams to a number of agencies, some don’t recognise that they have fallen for a scam, and unfortunately many others are too embarrassed to report their experience,” the ACCC said.

For the third consecutive year the ACCC has seen a drop in what it calls the “conversion rate” of people who responded to an approach by a scam admirer and subsequently lost money – from 48 per cent in 2011 to 46 per cent in 2012 to 43 per cent in 2013.

However, those who were stung were hit hard because, as the ACCC reports, “financial losses continue to remain substantially disproportionate to contacts”, with dating and romance scams making up only 3 per cent of all scam-related contacts in 2013.

If you have some concerns about a romance scam – or any other type of scam, from a dodgy phone call to an email phishing scam – check out www.scamwatch.gov.au.

There are lots of tips on dealing with potential scams, as well as updates on the latest rip-offs doing the rounds.

While it’s good news, to some extent, that more people are realising they are being conned, the cost to those stung by scammers is still far too high.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.