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$10m reclaimed from scams in 1 year: Bankwest

The non-major bank has reportedly recovered over $10 million from scammers over the last 12 months.

This figure has highlighted the importance of community awareness and education when it comes to scams to help victims avoid actively participating in the loss of funds, according to Bankwest.

The Safe and Savvy Report, released by the non-major bank in support of Scam Awareness Week, compiled data from September 2021 to September 2022, which identified the top scams most often used by criminals against their victims.

Bankwest recorded more than 7,000 customer calls during this period, with more than 2,600 of those calls being confirmed scams.

The report observed an ongoing trend of scammers taking advantage of a lack of cyber literacy from older Australians (65 years old and above), who accounted for 44 per cent of cases.

The older cohort was most commonly targeted for remote access attacks, which are characterised by scammers posing as tech support to access devices under the guise of undertaking urgent services, leading to the installation of malware to allow scammers access.

Younger Australians were also targeted by job & investment scams, such as pyramid schemes or fake crypto sales. These accounted for 29 per cent of cases in those aged 25–34.

Bankwest’s report found that the most common scams were threat & penalty scams, which include fake alerts, texts for overdue money or warning of an arrest warrant should payments not be made. These scams accounted for 23 per cent of cases across all age groups.

Bankwest executive manager, fraud management, Audrey Pajmon, said: “Bankwest has been part of the fabric of WA for more than 125 years, and the Safe and Savvy report is part of our ongoing support for the community.

“More than 3000 Bankwest colleagues call WA home, and we’re dedicated to supporting our families, friends, and communities on critical social issues and Scams Awareness Week helps to raise awareness of a silent scourge.”

ASIC’s top tips for avoiding scams

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has published its top 10 signs of likely crypto scams in support of Scam Awareness Week.

According to ASIC, crypto scams fall into three categories: scams that convince you that you’re investing in genuine assets; fake crypto tokens; and scams that use crypto assets to make payments.

ASIC investigators’ list of the top 10 signs of crypto scams is as follows:

1. You receive an offer out of the blue

2. Fake celebrity advertisements

3. A romantic online partner asks for money in crypto

4. Scammers will pressure you into transferring crypto from your current exchange to another website

5. You’re asked to pay for financial services in crypto

6. If an app isn’t listed on the Google Play Store or Apple Store

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7. Additional payments are required to access your money

8. You’re “guaranteed” returns or free money

9. Strange tokens appearing in digital wallets

10. The provider withholds investment earnings for “tax purposes”

ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court said: “Australians lost more than $701 million to investment scams in 2021, up 135 per cent from the previous year and these scams are continuing to increase.

“The main driver of the increase was cryptocurrency investment scams, where losses increased by 270%. The ACCC have advised that losses to crypto scams have increased further in 2022.

“If you think you’ve been the victim of a crypto scam, it’s important to act quickly. Draw a line under it. Don’t send any more money. Block all contact from the scammer.”

[RELATED: Banks welcome budget’s cyber security funding]

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