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Online dating scams cause financial damage



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THE HON. JASON CLARE MP MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER FOR JUSTICE MINISTER FOR DEFENCE MATERIEL

THE HON. DAVID BRADBURY MP ASSISTANT TREASURER MINISTER ASSISTING FOR DEREGULATION

MEDIA RELEASE

ONLINE DATING SCAMS CAUSE FINANCIAL DAMAGE

21 August 2012

Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice Jason Clare today released the results of the Australian Institute of Criminology’s (AIC) 2010 and 2011 online scam survey held in partnership with the Australasian Consumer Fraud Task Force.

Australians who participated in the survey lost almost $7 million in 2011.

“This annual survey is a snapshot of Australians’ exposure to consumer scams, and can help identify scams as they happen,” Mr Clare said

Dating scams were the most likely to result in financial loss or the disclosure of personal details, with almost half of victims reporting they had lost money.

In 2010, people aged 45 to 54 reported the highest percentage of victimisation. In 2011 the age group with the highest victimisation rate shifted to those aged 65 years and over.

Some criminal scams are random, using spam email and mobile phones to entice potential victims. Dating scams are more complex and can use identity fraud, along with information gathered from social networking sites, to target and groom particular individuals.

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury it was important that anyone targeted by a criminal scammer report it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on 1300 795 995.

“Even if the amount of money or information involved seems small, the same scammer could be targeting other people and that information can help prevent more fraud,” said Mr Bradbury.

Further information on how to recognise and report scams can be found at www.scamwatch.gov.au

The report is available at www.aic.gov.au

Media contacts: Annie Williams - 0428 040 522 (Clare) Justin Koek - 0400 126 939 (Bradbury)