Personal fraud and scams cost Australians $1 billion

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Personal fraud and scams cost Australians  $1 billion

A report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed that over five per cent of Australians were victims of personal fraud in 2007.

A recent report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that over five per cent of Australians, aged 15 and over, were victims of personal fraud in 2007. The total cost of personal fraud and scams for the same period was nearly $1 billion.

The survey was an attempt to provide benchmark figures of the prevalence, range and severity of personal fraud attacks in Australia.

The report shows that over 800,000 Australians were victims of personal fraud in the 12 months prior to the survey.

The most common fraud attack was ID fraud, with around 500,000 successful attacks. The most popular forms of ID fraud were credit and bank card fraud, at over 380,000 instances, with identity theft accounting for the remaining 124,000.

Scams proved less popular but were still alarmingly common, with 329,000 people - two percent of the adult population – falling victim to one. Phishing attacks accounted for over 57,000 of these.

The survey also revealed that over a third of the adult population had been solicited with some form of scam. Amongst these, fake lotteries proved the most popular, followed by phishing attacks and chain letters.

Over 450,000 victims lost money to personal fraud and scams over the 12 month period, accruing losses of a combined $977 million.

The median, or most common loss was $450 per person, but the mean loss was over $2,000 per person, and 3 percent of victims lost over $10,000.

Western Australians were the most victimised people, with an estimated 3.5 percent of the population aged 15 and over suffering from some form of personal fraud or scam over the period. The lowest rate occurred in South Australia, where only 2.2 percent were victimised.

Higher-income earners were far more likely to be targeted for identity fraud – the ABS recorded a victimisation rate of 9.1 percent amongst those who earned over $2,500 per week.

The study had a sample size of 14,320 and has an estimated standard error [SE] of around 5 percent.
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