Since 2007, the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has collected information on consumer scams by conducting an online survey of Australians who have received scam invitations during the preceding 12 months. The research is conducted on behalf of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT), which comprises 22 government regulatory agencies and departments in Australia and New Zealand.The annual survey seeks to obtain a snapshot of the public’s exposure to consumer scams, to assess the range of ways in which scams can affect victims and their families, to determine how victims respond and to identify emerging typologies, and look at issues that could be used to inform fraud prevention initiatives.
As in previous years, a high proportion of respondents to the survey had received a scam invitation (97%), with just over a third of the respondents responding to the scam invitation in some way. Last year, four percent of respondents reported having lost money to a scam, with the median amount of money reported as being lost per incident was $2,150—just over $1,110,000 lost in total. Fraudulent lottery and prizes wins were the most prevalent scam type experienced by respondents in 2013. While email remained the most commonly used method by which scams were delivered, consistent with previous years, scams delivered via landline and mobile telephones continued to increase.