On this page

Scams cost Australian consumers, businesses and the economy hundreds of millions of dollars each year. They also cause serious emotional harm to victims and their families. Scams target all types of people and age groups. 

We're a proud partner of Scams Awareness Week by Scamwatch. This year’s theme is ‘Let’s talk scams’, with the aim to raise awareness, prevent or disrupt scams and reduce stigma by having conversations about scams. Many people who experience a scam never report it to anyone. One reason for this is that people can feel shame or embarrassment.

As of 31 August 2021, Scamwatch received over 190,000 reports with over $192 million losses in 2021 so far, a 95.4% increase in losses since the same time last year.

Scamwatch has received record levels of phishing scams with 45,000 reports in 2021.

Let’s take a look at some of the common types of scams in Australia this year. 

Investment scams

Australians lose more money to investment scams than any other type of scam, and losses are on track to more than double in 2021. So far this year investment scam losses have exceeded $90 million.

Losses to cryptocurrency scams are the highest of all types of investment scams, representing over 50% of losses. After what can often be a low initial investment, scammers pressure you to invest more over time before claiming the money is gone or ceasing communication and blocking access to the funds.  

Always be suspicious of any investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is – and is highly likely to be a scam. Never take investment advice from anyone that you’ve only met online or provide them with your personal or financial details. 

Before investing, check this list of companies you should not deal with

For more information on investment scams visit the dedicated page on Scamwatch

Remote access scams

Remote access scams are one of the largest growing scam types in Australia. So far this year, people have reported losing over $10 million across over 10,000 reports. People aged 65 and over have lost the most money this year.

Most commonly, scammers pretend to be from well-known organisations such as Telstra, eBay, NBN Co, Amazon, banks or computer and IT support organisations and create a sense of urgency to make you give them access to your computer. Pop-ups can also be used, claiming to be from Microsoft or other tech companies, saying there is a problem with your computer and to click on the pop up ‘to receive assistance’. Once the scammer has gained access to your computer, they can access your bank accounts and personal information.

For more information on remote access scams visit the dedicated page on Scamwatch.

Flubot malware scams

Flubot malware scams are new and Scamwatch has received a significant increase of reports in these scams. Over 8,700 Flubot malware scams have been reported since the start of August 2021.

Flubot is an android phone banking malware. These scams have spread rapidly overseas before making their way to Australia.

The scam sends you a text message claiming that you’ve a missed call or a parcel delivery, with a link to listen to the voicemail or track the parcel. If you click the link, the malware will be downloaded to your device and sent on to your contacts. Only android phones can be infected with Flubot, but iPhone users who click a Flubot link may be redirected to download a different malicious software that may still damage their device.

For more information on remote access scams visit the dedicated page on Scamwatch

Threat-based scams

Threat-based scams have increased in 2021. They rely on people’s fear and desire to comply with authority to deceive people into parting with their money. Scammers claim to be from the government or law enforcement and claim there are issues with your tax file number and/or bank accounts, or that they have intercepted a package addressed to you, linking you to criminal activity. Threats to life, arrest or other threats are then used to extract money.

Scammers also often pose as Chinese police or embassy staff and target the Chinese community, particularly international students, with threat-based scams.

So far this year Scamwatch has received over 19,000 reports with over $9 million in losses. People aged 18-24 have lost the most money to this scam type with $3 million lost.

For more information on threat-based scams visit the dedicated page on Scamwatch.

If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, please contact us immediately. We encourage you to report scams to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) via the report a scam website

You can find more about our anti-fraud measures on our dedicated page and download our Fraud protection guide

Statistics provided by Scamwatch

Fraud and scams

People’s Choice has anti-fraud measures in place to protect our members. You can read about them on our dedicated page.

    Related articles

    Guides and calculators

    Need some help? We've got you covered. 

    Get in touch with us and we can help you get the answers you need.