Australia self-reported losses exceeding $33 billion.
The country has been scammed billions of dollars with a significant increase in online fraud and schemes.
Australians have fallen victim to the spike in cybercrime and scammers hoarded over $33 billion in last year alone.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre saw a 13% increase in reported online crime as employee groups were forced to work from home due to the pandemic.
The Cyber Security Centre has revealed scams more than doubled in 2020 before doubling again in 2021. The massive spike has placed Australia in the top five countries most affected by scammers.
The Labor Opposition accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of repeatedly ignoring warnings that Australia was “ripe for exploitation.”
Shadow assistant treasurer Stephen Jones said now was the time for increased penalties for businesses and social media platforms aiding scammers.
‘Australians are being smashed by scammers and fraudsters, the government is either disinterested or incapable of doing about it,’ he said.
The Opposition vouched to solve the problem on its own and create a National Anti-Fraud Centre.
The centre will be based on the UK Fusion Cell model and combine efforts by law enforcement agencies, banks, telecommunications providers and consumer advocates to strengthen national defences.
It said more than 75% of pandemic-related cybercrime reports involved Australians losing money or personal information
“Nearly 500 ransomware cybercrime reports, an increase of nearly 15% from the previous financial year”
According to Australia and New Zealand’s vice president of Proofpoint, Crispin Kerr, it’s depressing that more than $33 million had been lost in one month, and scammers didn’t seem to be slowing down before the holiday season.
According to news.com.au a woman lost hundreds to a scam on Facebook Marketplace.
It said a keen cyclist who did not want to be named transferred $600 for a component for a bike she assembled and $25 in postage, only for the seller who posed as a family man in regional Victoria and deleted he profile from the internet a short while after.
It wasn’t until a couple of days after the money had been paid that the woman and her partner realised the seller’s profile and ad had been deleted.
Data from the Australia’s consumer watchdog showed that as of the end of November of this year, 1232 scam reports mentioning Facebook Marketplace were sent to Scamwatch, resulting in losses of $781,774.
Top scams by loss as reported by Scamwatch
- $61.8 million: Investment scams
- $28.6 million: Dating & romance
- $10.1 million: False billing
- $5.1 million: Hacking
- $4.8 million: Online shopping scams
- $4.8 million: Remote access scams
- $4.3 million: Identity theft
- $4.3 million: Threats to life, arrest or other
- $2.8 million: Classified scams
- $2.6 million: Inheritance scams
Scam every 11 seconds
Business Australia warned earlier this month that it is seeing a ransomware attack on small businesses every 11 seconds.
The industry organisation found that attacks have increased 30% in the past six months as cybercriminals exploit the pandemic and shift to telecommuting, and that small Australian businesses are now the top targets of cybercrime
There has also been a 60% increase in ransomware attacks against Australian companies last year, according to the federally funded Australian Cyber Security Centres
General manager of products at Business Australia Phil Parisis said,” The average ransomware of a business is $280,000, and we’re seeing a ransomware attack every 11 seconds and this is escalating”
“Both methods are extremely common and all too easy to execute with many businesses, quite simply, sitting ducks.”
Business Australia warns that they are seeing a ransomware attack on small businesses every 11 seconds.
The industry organisation found that attacks have increased 30% in the past six months as cybercriminals exploit the pandemic and the shift to telecommuting, and that small businesses in Australia are now prime targets for cybercrime.
Even more alarming, a third of Australian organisations affected by ransomware attacks paid the ransom.
Ransomware attacks on Australian businesses have also increased by 60% over the past year, according to the Australian Cybersecurity Centre, a federal government-funded centre.
Australians over 65 were the most financially affected by the November scams, affecting 29% or $9.2 million of all losses.
Losses for Australians aged 18-34 declined over the month. Australians aged 65 and over reported the most significant number of scams, with 3,277 reports, followed by Australians aged 35 to 44, with 2,778 reports.
A spokesperson from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, who run Scamwatch, said recipients of suspected scam calls should ‘hang up immediately.