Cyber scams: Australians lost $33 billion to online criminals

Australians have been scammed out of billions of dollars with a significant increase in fraud and online schemes.

Australians have fallen victim to a surge in cybercrime, with scammers nabbing more than $33 billion in the last year alone.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre saw an increase of 13 per cent in the number of online crimes reported, as swathes of employees were forced to work from home due to the pandemic.

It also saw self-reported losses top $33 billion.

The ASCS said in its annual report that fraud, online shopping and online banking scams were the most popular schemes.

“More than 75 per cent of pandemic-related cybercrime reports involved Australians losing money or personal information,” it said.

“Nearly 500 ransomware cybercrime reports, an increase of nearly 15 per cent from the previous financial year.”

Earlier this month a Victorian woman lost hundreds to a scam on Facebook Marketplace.

The keen cyclist, who wished not to be named, transferred $600 for the component for a bike she was building and $25 for postage, only to have the seller, who was posing as a family man from regional Victoria, delete their profile and be wiped from the internet.

“I was really annoyed with them and I guess with myself that it had happened,” the woman told, adding that she was a regular buyer on the platform and considered herself cautious.

“It just shows it must be pretty easy to do, to set up a fake profile … their profile is there and then it’s just gone and you have no trace of them.

“Usually we go onto the person’s profile and see if they’ve sold anything before on certain groups, how many friends they’ve got, just to make sure they’re legit. It seemed like this person was legit so we thought it would be OK.”

It wasn’t until a couple of days after the money had been paid that the woman and her partner realised the seller’s profile and ad had been deleted.

At first she said she thought there may have been another reason the profile had disappeared, until they found the same pictures of the component, a groupset, on Gumtree selling for double the price.

Data from Australia’s consumer watchdog showed that 1232 reports of scams mentioning…