Online love scams top money making con in Australia

AUSTRALIANS were scammed out of more than $81 million last year and online dating and romance cons were the most financially damaging, an ACCC report revealed.

The Targeting Scams report, released on Monday, revealed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission received more than 90,000 complaints last year.

Dating and romance scams were ranked first for resulting in the most financial losses. The report said Australians lost about $28 million in romance scams, which made up 34% of all money lost.

Investment fraud came in second as most financially damaging.

Australians lost $21 million in those scams.

ACCC deputy chairwoman Delia Rickard said the report also showed last year's financial losses were about 8%, or $7million, less than 2013.

She said she was pleased about the decrease and it "hopefully" reflected Australians' increasing awareness.

"However, actual losses are likely to be much higher than what is reported to the ACCC. People report scams to a number of agencies, some don't recognise that they have fallen for a scam, and unfortunately many others are too embarrassed to report their experience," she said.

The report said online scams attributed to a loss of about $47million and phone calls were the most popular scamming delivery method.

Last year more than one third of people lost between $110 and $499.

More than 10% of scam contacts lost more than $10,000 and there were 14 people who lost more than $500,000. The report also showed it was not just the elderly who were conned.

Scam victims' ages varied and were evenly spread between 25-year-olds and those aged 65 and over.

NSW recorded the highest number of scams (31% of the total), followed by Victoria (22%) and Queensland (24%).


Romance scams: $27.9million lost

Scratchie scams: $300,000

Hacking: $2.3million

Fake charities: $165,000