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Australians bombarded with 250 scam attempts a year


One in five Australians have been a victim of a scam or know someone who has, according to research from the Commonwealth Bank.

By Keeli Cambourne12 minute read

Australians are bombarded with five fake calls, emails or messages a week adding up to almost 260 a year, and the problem is getting worse according to the latest survey.

Two-thirds of Australians get more scam attempts today than 12 months ago, research by the Commonwealth Bank has revealed, and 57 per cent said the fakes had become more sophisticated and harder to spot.


On average, Australians received 4.98 scam calls/emails/SMS/social media messages per week and almost three in five said they were now than more concerned about scams compared with a year ago.

The research also found that men are more likely to have experienced a scam and suffered a loss compared to women (41 per cent to 30 per cent).

CBA’s general manager of group fraud, James Roberts, said recent events served as a reminder that scams and fraud continue to rise.

“We’ve seen an increase in scam attempts on Aussies in the past few years, with the ACCC reporting $2 billion was lost in 2021 alone. Scammers are experts in what they do, and regularly play on emotions and prey on people’s vulnerabilities,” he said.

“The research findings show that Australians are becoming more aware of scam behaviours, and as a result, are more cautious about their activities.”

“Despite four in ten Australians feeling embarrassed about falling victim to a scam, scams can happen to any individual and are unfortunately a common occurrence among vulnerable individuals.”

The survey found Anger was the most common reaction among those who suffered a loss (71 per cent) while respondents also felt devastation/sadness (50 per cent) and embarrassment/shame (44 per cent).

The research showed that despite the prevalence of scams, a third (33 per cent) of Australians who fell victim did not report it for a variety of reasons, including feeling like it was their fault (41 per cent), believing that it would not be worth the effort (33 per cent), and feeling embarrassed or ashamed (26 per cent).

Encouragingly, more than eight in ten (84 per cent) Australians say they are confident in their ability to recognise and avoid scams, with younger Australians more likely to be very confident.

Additionally, 65 per cent are cautious about calls from numbers they don’t recognise, 57 per cent check before clicking on links received via text unless from a friend, and 54 per cent check written materials for spelling and grammar mistakes.

Australians are most likely to contact their bank if they were to fall victim to a scam (79 per cent), followed by the police (63 per cent) while 12 per cent of said they would contact the scammer directly.

CBA has created a simple guide to help detect scams and fraud called Stop,  Check, Reject. 

  • When you get an unusual call or text. Real organisations won’t put you under pressure to act instantly.
  • Contact the organisation the message claims to be from or check with someone you trust.
  • If it’s not them, block the texter, delete the email or hang up on the caller. Change your passwords.

“Companies, including the banks and their security departments, should never ask for a PIN, password or access codes over the phone, email or text, nor should they ever ask for access to your devices,” Mr Roberts said.

“If you receive any contact from someone claiming to be from a service provider asking for this information, call that organisation immediately to verify before taking any action.”


Australians bombarded with 250 scam attempts a year
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