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ACCC anti-scam report reveals surge in investment scams

Phishing scam Identity thefts for fraudulent purposes increases during holidays stealing user data

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released its third-quarter report, showcasing significant strides in combating scams across Australia. This period marks a pivotal moment with the establishment of the country’s first Fusion Cell, a collaborative initiative aimed at enhancing the detection, prevention, and disruption of investment scams.

The report highlights a worrying rise in scam activities, reflecting the increasing sophistication and adaptability of scammers. The total number of scams exceeded 601,000 for the year with an increase of 18.5%. However, combined reported losses from scams were down 13%. The top 5 scams for total losses were:

  1. Investment ($1.3B)
  2. Remote access ($256M)
  3. Romance ($201.1M)
  4. Phishing ($137.4M)
  5. Payment redirection ($91.6M)

As investment scams prevailed, the ACCC introduced the Fusion Cell. This dedicated unit brings together expertise from various sectors including government agencies, private industry, and law enforcement. The Fusion Cell operates as a nerve centre for scam intelligence, leveraging real-time data sharing and advanced analytical tools to identify and counteract emerging threats. This innovative approach enables a faster and more coordinated response, significantly reducing the window of opportunity for scammers. By pooling resources and expertise, the Fusion Cell has already begun to yield positive outcomes, disrupting several large-scale scam operations this year.

Other notable initiatives from the report include:

  • The launch of the National Anti-Scam Centre
  • Announcement of a Scams Code Framework
  • Bank action on cryptocurrency exchanges
  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s website takedown service
  • ‘Call stop’ initiative
  • Scam indicator tool and payment prompts
  • Telecommunication activities (to increase spam spoofing), and
  • Payee verification technology and the Scam Safe Accord.

For a full reading of the report, see here.

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