Flubot: ACCC reports $ 211 million loss from scams this year

There has been a huge increase in scams this year with a massive amount of Australians falling for sophisticated mobile phone scams.

Scammers have snatched $ 211 million from Australians this year with a huge increase in text-based schemes.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission vice-chairperson Delia Rickard said the scams were getting more sophisticated.

Two of the most popular programs this year involved a Flubot trick and package deliveries.

“It’s very disturbing to see these scams evolve and become more sophisticated to steal even more money from unsuspecting people,” she said.

“While the proportion of reports involving financial loss has declined this year, people who lose money are losing more. The average loss so far this year is around $ 11,000, compared to $ 7,000 for the same period in 2020. ”

$ 63.6 million was taken from phone scams. Of the 213,000 reports received by ACCC this year, 113,000 concerned telephone scams.

Scammers usually call or text people and pretend to be from companies or governments that are notorious for stealing people’s personal information.

Ms Rickard said crooks took advantage of the Covid pandemic.

“In August, new Flubot malware scams masquerading as bogus voicemail and parcel delivery scams exploded, resulting in more than 13,000 reports in just eight weeks,” she said. .

“These scams are of particular concern in our current climate, as many people are turning to online shopping due to the Covid-19 lockdowns,” Ms. Rickard said.

Seniors are the most vulnerable to scams, with those over 65 losing $ 49.1 million.

Last year, new rules were introduced to allow telecommunications operators to identify, trace and block fraudulent calls. In the first seven months, they blocked 214 million fraudulent calls.

Crooks increasingly use identity theft techniques that alter their original numbers to make the target more likely to pick up the phone.

Rather than using foreign numbers, they now disguise them as legitimate numbers that show the phone call is coming from a legitimate body like Telstra or the Australian Taxation Office.

In some cases, scammers will call from a phone number that has a different number than the victim’s, in the hopes that this will build trust and the person will answer the call.

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