Australian consumers lost $14 million to scammers in H1 2022

Losses made by Australians who fell prey to rogue bond scams nearly tripled in the first half of 2022 as consumers lost more than $14 million in their quest for returns.

Scam Executions: Perpetrators are believed to have impersonated real financial companies or banks while claiming to offer government bonds or time deposits. Between January and June this year, there were 228 reports of fraud, compared to just 82 in the first half of last year, according to a statement from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

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People often fall victim to them after searching online for investment opportunities and filling out application forms through fake third-party comparison sites, according to the ACCC. More than half of those who reported damages from bond scammers were contacted by phone first.

ACCC statement: Delia Rickard, deputy chairman of ACCC, said that when interest rates rise, people who want to invest in bonds fall victim to these scams after searching for investment opportunities online.

“These comparison sites can seem very convincing, and people are providing their data on the assumption that these are legitimate Australian sites comparing real financial services,” Rickard said.

Safety advice: Rickard pointed out that investors can buy bonds through the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and urged them to follow the safety advice of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. Consumers who have given away personal information, as most victims have, can contact IDCARE, which acts as Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber support service.

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