Ms Rickard said the ACCC did not have the resources to police the huge number of incidents being reported to them each year and catching just one scammer was incredibly difficult.
For the first time, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has collated its scam data with the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) to give a clearer picture of just how much Australians are being ripped off.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said the combined data showed investment scams caused $41 million in losses, with $6.3 million lost by victims over the age of 55."Investment scams come in many different guises including business ventures, superannuation schemes, managed funds and the sale or purchase of shares or property," she told the ABC."One of the reasons is Australia has been in a low interest rate environment for quite some period now, and retirees or those approaching retirement are really concerned about how they can grow their retirement fund, so we think that may be making them more vulnerable to scams."We also think that scammers target countries like Australia, they're aware of our superannuation schemes, they realise people have money to invest later in life and that we're a wealthy country."Dating and romance scams are still causing big headaches for victims and authorities, with $55 million lost last year.
Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions.
They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.
This is the most widespread internet and email scam today. "Phishing" is where digital thieves lure you into divulging your password info through convincing emails and web pages.
These phishing emails and web pages resemble legitimate credit authorities like Citibank, e Bay, or Pay Pal.
After several months Jessica felt that she could tell Martin anything and Martin confessed his love for her.
Soon afterwards, Jessica received an email from Martin claiming that he had been mugged and lost his wallet.
If you pay that, there will be another story and another.
They are very persistent," she said."These scams have huge benefits for the scammers — real wealth — so they put an awful lot of time into grooming and deceiving people who believe they have found the love of their life."In 2016, more than 4,000 reports were made to Scamwatch regarding dating and romance scams.
He showed an interest in her life including her business affairs.