Australian Romance Scams Rise During COVID-19 Lockdown

Written by Dominic Whitlock

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) ‘Scamwatch’ has released data that shows the country reported a net loss of A$12.3 million from cybercrimes in July.

Just over 10% of the 18,500 scam reports included references to financial loss, meaning the average victim was conned out of approximately A$6,000.

Romance scams was the most prominent category, with just under A$4 million lost.

Crispin Kerr, head of ANZ at Proofpoint, told 9News: “Scams are constantly evolving and our growing use and reliance on technology provides scammers more opportunities to trick people into giving away their valuable personal information.

“Scammers use personal information to steal identities for personal and financial gain. Scams cost Australians, businesses and the economy hundreds of millions of dollars each year and cause serious emotional harm to victims and their families.”

There has been a spike in romance fraud over the past few months, which experts believe is largely due to individuals feeling more lonely while in lockdown at home. Chronicle reported A$22 million has been lost so far in 2020.

ACCC data also shows that the country’s total romance scams in 2019 amounted to A$28.6 million.

BBC News has also covered the increasing rates of romance scams. An editorial article was posted earlier today covering the trend and explaining to readers how to avoid losing money.

Read more here.

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