Government Plan Working As Scam Losses Drop

Australian Treasury

A new report released today shows annual scam losses have declined for the first time since 2016, following the Albanese Government launching the National Anti‑Scam Centre in July 2023.

The 15th annual Targeting Scams report shows in 2023, Australians lost $2.74 billion to scams, down from $3.15 billion in 2022, a 13 per cent decrease.

Scam losses decreased by 21 per cent in the second half of 2023 compared to the first half of the year once the NASC was up and running.

This reverses a long‑term trend that saw scam losses double year on year, demonstrating that the government’s tough anti‑scam agenda is working.

The report combines data from Scamwatch, ReportCyber, AFCX, ASIC, and IDCARE to analyse scam trends in Australia by contact method and scam type. For example,

  • Investment scam losses decreased by 13 per cent
  • Remote access scam losses increased by 12 per cent
  • Romance scam losses decreased by 4 per cent
  • Phishing scam losses decreased by 13 per cent
  • Payment redirection scam losses decreased by 59 per cent
  • Other scam losses decreased by 4 per cent

The report also includes a breakdown of Scamwatch data, which is a subset of the combined data and compares losses by contact mode between 2022 and 2023.

While scam losses are down across most contact modes, there is a notable increase for scams which originated on social media.

While scam losses originating from a phone call or text message decreased by ‑18 per cent, and -6 per cent, respectively, scams originating on social media increased by approximately 17 per cent.

While these are positive early signs, we need to continue our fight against scammers that are hurting Australians.

We will be implementing phase two of our anti‑scam agenda by introducing new mandatory industry codes that will contain minimum, consistent obligations for banks, telcos and digital platforms to prevent, detect, disrupt, and respond to scams.

The codes will be backed up by strong penalties that will apply if businesses fail to comply with their obligations.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services, Stephen Jones MP:

“The government is absolutely determined to keep Australians money safe from these criminals.

“This report shows that our plan is working, but every dollar lost to a scam is a tragedy and we will continue to roll out our anti‑scam program.

“We want Australia to be a world leader in combatting scammers and our mandatory codes will put us well ahead.

“While the report shows positive early signs, scam losses remain far too high and we urge Australians to remain alert to the threat of scammers and report any suspicious activity.”

/Public Release. View in full here.