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Consumer scams—2010 and 2011

TIPSHEET No. 25 March 2012

ISSN 1836-9111
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, March 2012

Each year since 2006, the Australian Institute of Criminology has conducted an online survey on behalf of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT) to assess consumer fraud experiences of those who choose to participate. The surveys have sought responses from interested people between January and March each year, asking about their experiences in the preceding 12 months.

In 2010, 246 respondents participated and in 2011 this increased to 1,145—probably due to increased publicity of the survey during National Consumer Fraud Awareness Week from 7 to 11 March 2011. Although a higher percentage of respondents reported receiving a scam in 2011 (94.2% c/f 89.0% in 2010), the percentage that responded to the scam was lower (25.2% in 2011 c/f 29.3% in 2010). Similarly, fewer respondents reported a financial loss or loss of personal information as the result of a scam in 2011 compared to 2010.

In 2011 almost 60 per cent of respondents were female, and the largest age category of respondents was 45–54 years. The highest proportion of respondents came from New South Wales. In relation to people who responded to scams, lottery scams have been the most prevalent scam type each year since 2008, with 90 individuals responding to these invitations in 2011 (31% of all those who responded to any scams).

Figure 1: Percentage of respondents who received a scam, responded to a scam, reported a financial loss and reported the loss of personal information

 Percentage of respondents who received a scam, responded to a scam, reported a financial loss and reported the loss of personal information

Source: Australian Institute of Criminology, 2010 ACFT Survey; 2011 ACFT Survey [computer files]

Further reading

  • Lindley J, Smith R G & Bricknell S. 2012. ‘Consumer fraud: age and risk of victimisation’ Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, Forthcoming, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.