According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC)’s ninth annual Targeting Scams Report, over 200,000 reports were submitted to the ACCC, Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) and other federal and state-based government agencies in 2017.
Total losses reported were $340 million – a $40 million increase compared to 2016.
Email phishing scams are considered to be the most used method of identity theft. This is where a scammers most commonly target an individual by sending them an email claiming to be from a bank or other such legitimate organisations, asking for access to personal accounts to carry misuse.
Email scams alone have cost Australian businesses losses of $22.1 million, with email phishing had the largest number of reports, receiving a total of 26,386 reports, causing $800,000 in losses and a 5.6 per cent increase in the number of reports compared to 2016.
“It’s very worrying that Australians are losing such extraordinary amounts to scammers. Based on just the reports provided to the ACCC, victims are losing an average of $6500. In some cases people have lost more than $1 million,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
In a previous email scam reported by ARN in 2017, a Brisbane business lost $1.9 million when the company was targeted in a cyberattack which saw malware access its systems in order to acquire the business client list. In this attack, the perpetrator accessed the invoice template the company issues to its customers and modified the account details. The invoice was then forwarded as an email to companies on the business’ client list.
In 2017, ACCC received 5,432 scam reports from Australian businesses, with 60% of them delivered via email, and 85% via bank transfers. The ACCC reported Hacking as number 12 on the scams categories list with 5,757 reports and losses of $1.7 million. Malware and ransomware ranked number 13 with 4,412 reports and total losses of $239,000.
The ACCC encourages individuals to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page to help warn and monitor trends.
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