17 Jun 2013

$A93m scammed last year

6:14 am on 17 June 2013

Australians reported losing more than $A93 million to scams last year which may be just the tip of the iceberg.

A report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission showed there was an increase of 65% in reports of online shopping scams.

But voice and text message scams made up more than half of all complaints. Only 35% of reports to the ACCC were for online shopping.

The ABC reports most of the losses were between $A100 - $A500, but the commission believes many scams go unreported as people do not realise they have been scammed or are too embarrassed to tell anyone.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said the most common form of scam is "advance fee fraud".

"You might get an email out of the blue telling you that you've inherited $1 million from a long-lost aunt in the United States, but you have to pay this fee to get it out," she told the ABC.

Ms Rickard said criminals are becoming more clever and are able to convince people to give them money. Many people do not know they have been scammed until it is too late.

"(We think) $A93 million is just the tip of the iceberg," she said.