Young Australians are falling victim to online scams at a faster rate than other age groups, according to the ACCC’s Scamwatch.
People under the age of 25 lost more than $5 million to scams in 2019 with Facebook and Instagram the most common platforms reported for scam activity.
ACCC Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard, said the stats are a useful reminder that digital natives are not immune to digital deceit.
“Scammers don’t discriminate based on age and the wide-range of scams reported by this age group is concerning,” Rickard said.
“Young people may think they are tech savvy, but scammers are adapting and we expect to see more scams on newer platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok.”
Online stores that appeared legit – but weren’t – and fake tickets to events were regular sources of grief for millennials who made 12,000 reports to Scamwatch last year.
Recently, WA’s consumer protection watchdog warned that a PayPal loophole made it easier for fake ticket sellers to flog their non-existent wares – a problem already exacerbated by Google’s decision to reinstate dubious ticket reseller Viagogo in its search results.
“Always try to purchase tickets from authorised sellers and be aware that many links sourced through social media will not be legitimate,” Rickard said.
The scams keep coming
As digital technologies become increasingly present in our lives, they are also being misused to steal fleece Australians of their hard-earned money.
Information Age recently reported that an ice rink in Sydney’s South West lost $77,000 in an email scam – money that was supposed to pay for a new ice resurfacing machine.
Evidently that incident is part of a worrying trend that has seen business email compromise scams cost Australian businesses around $60 million in 2018.
If legit-looking emails weren’t enough to worry about, eager Australians who are keen to get connected to the NBN are being bombarded with calls from supposed NBN Co salespeople.
It’s a lucrative business for the scammers who were fleecing unsuspecting would-be NBN users of an average $110,000 every month and NBN Co said it receives an average of nearly 650 calls a week from savvy Australians who clued onto what the scammers were up to.
Most recently, people have been reporting automated calls from someone claiming to be “Nicole at NBN” who warns that you will be disconnected if you don’t “press 1” and speak with a technician.
Some scammers also try to get permission to establish a remote connection to “fix issues” with NBN services.
The problem has become so bad NBN Co CEO, Darren Kane, had to remind everyone this week that the company doesn’t just call people out of the blue to sell products or gain remote access to their computers.
“While we do have a few people named Nicole working at NBN Co, they – or any of our employee’s - are not calling customers and threatening to disconnect services,” Kane said.
“In fact, NBN will never call and ask to access your computer or advise that you’re going to be disconnected.
“It is important that we set the record straight when it comes to scams so that Australians can identify and protect themselves from being duped by these professional criminals.”
If you think you have come across an online scam you can report it anonymously to the ACCC’s Scamwatch.