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Investment scams almost double as scams claim nearly $400 million in 2022 | #datingscams | #lovescams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | #match.com | #dating


Australians lost nearly half-a-billion dollars to scams in the past 10 months, which is already significantly more than this time last year.

Nearly all the losses fall under the umbrella of investment scams, which have doubled in the past two years.

It’s not a particularly surprising trend, with investment scams expected to climb in the coming years substantially, according to Edith Cowan University Professor of Cyber Security Practice Paul Haskell-Dowland.

Contact reporter Allanah Sciberras at allanah.sciberras@nine.com.au

Australians lost more than $474 million in scams since January, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch.

So far, in 2022, investment scams have topped the list with $320 million lost while dating and romance came in second with about $32 million lost.

Other types of scams in the top 10 included, false billing, identity theft, pyramid schemes and online shopping scams.

Australians are urged to be mindful of every transaction as scams increase. (Supplied)

However, Haskell-Dowland told 9news.com.au that the real number of money lost was far greater, with only a small amount of people putting their hand up to admit they were scammed.

“The scam statistics are always skewed, because they are inaccurate because they don’t include everybody,” he said.

“There is still a stigma attached to being scammed.

“Being a victim of a scam campaign is not something to be ashamed of and when we see the scam data, it’s only a small part of the image.”

Why have investments skyrocketed in the past two years?

In 2021, Australians reported losing more than $177 million on investment scams while that number has increased by $143 million in 2022.

“It’s very likely we are going to see a continued trend of increased investment scams,” according to Haskell-Dowland.

“We’ve already seen it massively leaping in dominance.”

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Digital curreny scams account for a large proportion of the losses.

“Digital currencies tend to be quite popular as a lot of scams are oriented around the buying and selling of digital currency,” Haskell-Dowland said.

“It is also predominantly internet based, so the transactions typically happen through websites, where you hold your coin wallet and you store your digital currency digitally.”

Edith Cowan University Professor of Cyber Security Practice Paul Haskell-Dowland. (Supplied)

The ACCC described the “hype of cryptocurrency” as the “wild west” with many countries trying to regulate it.

Digital currencies are a “relatively unregulated market” which is why the scams are so high, Haskell-Dowland added.

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“There are very little controls or safeguards wrapped around the trade in digital currency and there is very little oversight,” he said.

“It is relatively difficult to trace transactions back, making it a very desirable form of crime for cyber criminal groups so they are going to make a lot of money out of it.”

In March 2022 the Australian government began consultation on approaches for licencing digital currency exchanges and custody requirements for crypto assets. 

Contact reporter Allanah Sciberras at allanah.sciberras@nine.com.au

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