Beware: scammers are hitting their marks

Indigenous Australians were scammed out of nearly $1.7 million last year, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The ACCC said its Scamwatch website received 1810 scam reports in 2017 from Indigenous people, with each victim losing an average of nearly $6500.

The total figure of $1.7 million was up 14 percent on 2016 losses.

“Reports of scam activity to the ACCC from Indigenous people has, unfortunately, never been higher,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

The scams most often reported by Indigenous people were unexpected prize and lottery hoaxes, which accounted for 194 reports, while victims of dating and romance scams reported the most losses at $746,790.

Ms Rickard said Indigenous people should also be wary of online shopping scams and investment scams.

“Nearly one in every two Indigenous people who reported one of these scams to the ACCC lost money,” Ms Rickard said.

“These scams are very convincing, which makes them hard to spot.

“In the case of online shopping scams, the scammer creates a very believable looking online store purporting to sell well-known products at great prices.

“It always pays to do a Google search about an online store before you make a purchase to see if it might be a scam site.”

Ms Rickard said with investment scams, the scammer starts with a cold call to their victim promising low-risk investments for very high returns and can spend months grooming their victims.

“Once a victim invests, they’re quickly convinced to put more and more money in,” she said.

“As soon as the victim tries to cash in on their investment, the scammer quickly disappears.”

Ms Rickard advised to check people’s credentials, never give them personal information such as banking details and never provide remote access to your computer.

“Contact the agency they say they’re from directly to see if they’re telling the truth by finding their phone number in the phone book or an online search,” she said.

For more about scams, visit, follow @Scamwatch_gov on Twitter and subscribe to Scamwatch radar alerts.

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