Only a Federal Government mandate forcing banks to reimburse customers will solve growing scams crisis says Consumer Action
Scammers are targeting Australians online with highly sophisticated scams, stealing $billions from ordinary families and businesses every year -and it’s getting worse! That’s the message from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commissions (ACCC) Targeting Scams report published today on scam activity in 2022.
“The huge scale of theft and losses revealed by the report demands that urgent, decisive action must be taken now by Government,” said Consumer Action CEO, Stephanie Tonkin.
“We agree with the ACCC there needs to be a coordinated approach across government, the private sector and law enforcement, but the Federal Government must mandate the banks to reimburse customers caught up in scams otherwise it just won’t work,” she said.
Australian losses to scams increased 79% to $3.1 billion in 2022 compared to 2021. The ACCC estimates 30% of loses are unreported meaning the true figure is more than $4.3 billion. The average amount lost to scams was $20k in 2022, up 54% on the previous year.
“The banking industry can lead the way to protect customers and stop scams, but it will only do this if it is incentivised financially to do so, and the Government needs to mandate this,” said Ms Tonkin.
“Scammers are becoming far more sophisticated, using cutting-edge technology to trick and steal. We speak to people who call our helplines who have lost their enitre life savings to schemes that destroy their finances causing disaster for them and their family, it’s heart-breaking.
“The evidence is clear; scams are so sophisticated that ‘education campaigns’ that push the blame on to victims just don’t work. We need action from Government now that will help stop this crisis.”
Media contact: Mark Pearce, Media and Communications Adviser, 0413 299 567, email@example.com