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Text message is now the most reported contact point for scammers. (Source: Getty/supplied)

Australians have lost a record amount of more than $3.1 billion to scammers in the past year, which is more than an 80 per cent increase on the year before, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

These figures may also be just the tip of the iceberg since many consumers don’t report scams in the first place.

A report from the ACCC’s Scamwatch shows that 30 per cent of victims do not report scams to anyone and only 13 per cent report them to Scamwatch.

Graphic showing the total amount of lost money scam victims have reported to Scamwatch.

The Targeting Scams report released today revealed the scams where Australians lost the most amount of money were:

  • Investment scams: $1.5 billion

  • Remote access: $229.2 million

  • Payment redirection: $224.9 million

  • Romance: $210.2 million

  • Phishing: $157.6 million

  • Other scams: $784 million

Who is most likely to be affected?

People aged 65 and over are falling victim to scams more frequently than any other age group, and they are losing the most money.

Most common points of contact

Text message is now the most reported contact point for scammers, surpassing phone calls – still the second-most common way of contacting victims – followed by social media.

Graphic showing the main contact methods used by scammers.

Graphic showing the main contact methods used by scammers.

‘Australians are the most stupidest’, says scammer

Australians are stupid, have a lot of money and no sense, a scammer working for one of the most successful cyber gangs has told an investigation carried out by the ABC. The team made contact with a scammer with the help of security researchers via an encrypted service.

The report also reveals that the groups behind many of the cyber attacks on Australians come from highly organised criminal gangs, often based in Russia, with dozens of employees and even HR departments.

What to do if you think you’ve been scammed

The ACCC has a full list of who to contact if you think you have been scammed.

You can report a scam to the ACCC by completing a report.

How to spot a scam

While every scam is different, many rely on making the first contact. If you do receive a message or call supposedly from your bank or other service provider do not respond by clicking on a link or calling the number provided.

If you are unsure if it’s a legitimate message, contact your provider directly via their publicly listed contact details (not the ones in the message) to confirm before taking any action.

For more detailed information on common scams head to Scamwatch.

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National Cyber Security