Scammers hurting Aussie hearts and hip-pockets
Westpac State of Scams Report reveals the emotional and financial impact of scams
12 August 2019
New research released today highlights that scams are costing the nation more than money, with Australians revealing being scammed took a toll on their time, emotions and relationships.
The Westpac State of Scams Report found that two thirds (68%) of Australians are worried about being scammed, while almost one in ten (9%) have been impacted by a scam in the last 12 months.
Those who were scammed lost an average of $12,000. For Australians impacted by a scam, it took an average of one month to recover the funds.
One in two were also impacted emotionally, including losing faith and trust in others (30%) and feeling anxious about unknown callers (19%).
Two thirds were too embarrassed, ashamed or anxious to let their friends, family or colleagues know that they had been scammed. This increased by 22% for Australians who had fallen for dating and romance scams.
“Scammers are now using very sophisticated techniques, tricks and technologies to convince unsuspecting Australians to hand over their hard-earned cash,” said Ben Young, Westpac Head of Fraud.
“While we’re seeing record levels of financial loss to scams, it’s not just our wallets that are suffering. Our data shows that scammers are taxing our time, creating stress and taking a toll on our relationships.
“With one in five Australians not talking about scam prevention, it’s important we lift the lid on scams through building awareness and taking simple steps to protect ourselves against scammers,” Mr Young said.
To create a safe space for local communities to come together to learn more about scams, Westpac has launched Scam Awareness and Protection Seminars across Australia.
The initiative will see Westpac’s local bankers and scam experts team-up to help educate and empower residents on how to identify and prevent scams.
“Scams can happen to anyone, anywhere. Westpac is committed to helping Australians get ‘scam savvy’ through working with customers and communities on scam education and prevention. Through taking action together now, we want to save Australians time, money and stress in the future,” Mr Young said.
For more information on Westpac’s Scam Awareness and Protection Seminars, or to register interest for your local seminar, visit www.westpac.com.au/security
Mary-Louise Dare, Westpac
M: 0434 699 604
Siobhan Grogan, Map and Page
M: 0401 509 854
Westpac’s top tips for stopping scammers:
Protect your identity – never provide your personal information or security details, including passwords or security codes, in response to an email, phone call or SMS, even if it looks legitimate.
Protect your computer and devices – install security software, turn on automatic updates and scan your computer regularly. It’s a good idea to avoid using shared computers or devices as they may have malware that could compromise your online security. It is also a good idea to delete pop-up windows.
Be wary of scam callers – use caution when receiving a call from someone claiming to be from a reputable organisation and stop to consider what they are asking for. Never give them remote access to your computer. If in doubt, ask for a reference number and call back on a number publically listed or in the phone book to confirm the call was genuine.
Use caution actioning email requests – you may receive emails that contain links to fake websites or have malicious attachments that target your identity details or harm your device. Also, never change a BSB and account number in response to an email request. Always validate the requested change by calling the sender on a trusted phone number.
Don't fall for SMS phishing – fraudsters can spoof the sender name so they may appear as a trusted contact. These SMS's often use scare tactics and contain links to fake websites in an attempt to capture your passwords and other sensitive personal information.
Keep vigilant and informed – regularly change your passwords and visit Westpac.com.au/scams for the latest information on common and emerging scams.
About the research:
The research was commissioned by Westpac and conducted by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard. Lonergan Research surveyed 2,055 Australians aged 18+. Surveys were distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non-capital city areas. The survey was conducted online amongst members of a permission-based panel, between 4th of July and 10th of July, 2019. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.