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Consumer Fraud in Australasia: Results of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce Online Australia Surveys 2008 and 2009

NCJ Number
Carolyn Budd; Jessica Anderson
Date Published
74 pages
This report presents the result of surveys conducted in conjunction with the 2008 campaign in Australia that focused on circulating the following message: "Scams Target You: Protect Yourself, Don't Be a Victim of Scammers and Fight the Scammers."
Both surveys found that despite most respondents indicating that they had received a scam invitation over the specified 12-month period, the majority did not respond. Scam invitations sent by e-mail remained the most common scamming contact method. Lottery scams attracted the highest number of victims in 2008; whereas in 2009, work-from-home scams were the most common way respondents were scammed. Although a wide range of deceptive practices and methods were used by scammers, all of the scams aimed to trick unsuspecting consumers into sending money or providing personal information, often to criminals located in other countries. Consumer fraud has been estimated to cost Australia almost $1 billion annually, although the full extent of the losses is unknown, since many victims do not report their victimization, as many feel ashamed at having been fooled. The Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce includes 20 government regulatory agencies and departments in Australia and New Zealand that work in collaboration with the private sector. A range of fraud prevention activities have been conducted since 2006. A key activity is conducting an annual consumer fraud survey that obtains information on the public's exposure to consumer scams, their impact, how victims respond, and any emerging typologies and issues. In 2008, 919 people responded to the Consumer Fraud Survey; and in 2009, there were 708 respondents. The results were not combined in the analyses conducted in this report, since the surveys used different sampling frames, and the questions were altered slightly. 28 tables, 9 figures, 35 references, and appended online questionnaires for 2008 and 2009