Online fraudsters top Aussie cybercrime blacklist

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Online fraudsters top Aussie cybercrime blacklist

Authorities field 39,000 complaints in a year.

The first round of full-year statistics from the Australian Cybercrime Reporting Network (ACORN) reveals online scammers topped the list of criminals the coordinated government scheme grappled with in 2015.

The ACORN reporting portal was launched in November 2014 as a channel for members of the public to easily notify authorities about dodgy dealings online.

It also allows members of the network - like state and federal police, the Australian Crime Commission, the Attorney-General’s Department and other relevant regulators - to collect data on emerging digital threats.

In its first full calendar year, ACORN received 39,000 reports through the website, nearly half of which came from people or organisations claiming to have been victims on online scams.

Another 22 percent of all reports came from web users who had encountered trouble buying or selling goods online.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said there was a direct correlation between the growth of online retail and cybercrime rates.

“As Australia’s reliance on technology grows, and online shopping remains an increasingly attractive option for busy Australians, the cost and incidence of cybercrime is expected to increase,” he said in a statement.

The bulk of Australian victims reporting to ACORN were targeted through email, social networking, or website advertising.

Victoria emerged as a cybercrime hot spot, accounting for the highest number of complaints through ACORN, just in front of Queensland and NSW, with roughly a quarter of all reports made in 2015.

Complaints about cyberbullying made up between 6 percent and 8 percent of ACORN reports in the calendar year.

However, at the federal government’s new anti-cyberbullying authority, the Office of the e-Safety Commissioner, the organisation investigated 5561 reports of online harassment in the six months to 31 December 2015. Ninety-two were deemed serious.

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