Australian Institute of Criminology

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Consumer scams in Australia

Crime facts info no. 144

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, March 2007

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), through its membership of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT) and its SCAMwatch website, monitors scams and informs consumers and small business about how to recognise, avoid and report them. In March 2006, as part of a pilot study, 85 percent of callers (n=103) to the ACCC's national hotline agreed to complete a questionnaire concerning their experiences of consumer scams over the 12 months from March 2005. Callers were asked whether they had received an unsolicited scam and what method was used to contact them. As the figure below shows, the most common scam offers were related to lotteries (n=67), of which most were received by mail and email. Scams sent via email were the most popular method for money transfer requests (n=32), phishing scams (n=28), and financial advice offers (n=23).

Scam offers received, by type of scam and method of contact, 2005–06 (percent)

Scammers

b: Other includes calls where it was not possible to identify clearly the method used to reach the customer

Source: Unpublished ACCC data 2006

References

  • Smith Russell G 2007. Consumer scams in Australia: an overview. Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 331