Phone Scams Up 50 Percent

  • ACCC aims to educate
  • 22 Government agencies involved
  • People need to switch off scams

The Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce is urging Australians to slam the phone down on scams following a surge in reports of scams delivered over the phone in 2011.

The Taskforce's 'Slam Scams' National Consumer Fraud Week campaign, seeks to educate Australians to identify scams at the point of contact and avoid victimisation.

To coincide with the campaign, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched the Targeting Scams report, which reveals a shift in scam delivery methods.

Whereas the trend in recent years has been for scams delivered online, in 2011 over 50 per cent of scams reported to the ACCC were perpetrated by phone.

Dr Michael Schaper, taskforce chair and deputy chair of the ACCC, warned that Australians need to remain vigilant to scams delivered by any means and not engage from the outset.

"With scammers now targeting Australians in a myriad of ways, it is now more important than ever that we stay alert to scam approaches. A phone call, SMS, mobile app, house  visit, letter, email, fax, blog post, online chat or dating service – scammers will use any of these means to target victims,” he said.

"The key message for consumers and businesses is, if you receive a scam, slam it. Press delete, throw it out, shut the door or just hang up."

Dr Schaper emphasised the importance of this annual campaign in raising public awareness of scams targeting Australians. “National Consumer Fraud Week is a timely reminder of the need for consumers and businesses to protect themselves against scams – whatever shape they come in.”

The ACFT comprises 22 government agencies across Australia and New Zealand with responsibility for consumer protection regarding frauds and scams.

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