Record Year For WA Cybercrime As Facebook Scams Surge

  • WA ScamNet Year in Review report released
  • Scammers steal record $22 million from Western Australians in 2023
  • Facebook cons drive higher reporting numbers, up 62 per cent
  • Artificial intelligence scams an emerging issue for this year and beyond

The release of the WA ScamNet Year in Review report has revealed that scam records were shattered last year with 1,398 Western Australians victims reportedly fleeced of $21,995,489 in 2023, up 36 per cent from 2022.

Data showed buyers and sellers on classified sites and online marketplaces accounted for the highest number of victims across all scam-types.

Of the 435 people who reported losing $590,000 on buy/sell classified sites, Facebook Marketplace was responsible for 163 victims and $116,500 in losses.

Another common Marketplace scam involves fake rental property listings, where scammers pose as landlords to fleece prospective tenants of upfront bond and rent money.

Facebook scams generally were the top-reported scam to Consumer Protection, up 62 per cent on 2022 figures. Examples of scams originating on the social media platform included fake prizes and giveaways, phony job offers, bogus shopping adverts, and hacked accounts promoting cryptocurrency schemes.

As in previous years, the greatest amount of money was lost by those seeking high investment returns or looking for love online. Investment scams, primarily involving cryptocurrencies, were behind $12.1 million in losses, while dating and romance scams cost victims $3.7 million.

Looking ahead to 2024 and beyond, WA ScamNet predicts the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in voice and video scams to be an emerging feature, particularly when it comes to romance and family impersonation scams.

Information and advice on scams is available on the WA ScamNet website

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