Dating cons hit Tasmanians in hip pocket

Top ten scams Tasmanians fell for last year, by money lost:

  • Dating and romance, $337,835. 
  • Online shopping, $274,533.
  • Advanced fee/up-front payment, $198,327.
  • Lottery and sweepstakes, $137,490.
  • Computer prediction software, $56,404.
  • Job and employment, $13,063.
  • False billing, $13,036.
  • Computer hacking, $11,192.
  • Investment, $6950.
  • Chain letter/pyramid scheme, $3526.

Source: ACCC, Targeting Scams Report 2013.

DATING and romance scams cost Tasmanians the most of all swindles in 2013, according to a report from the national consumer watchdog.

Reported scams cost the state $1,059,526, with dating and romance cons earning the most money for scammers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Targeting Scams Report 2013 also shows that advanced fee/ up-front payment scams were the most common, with scammers making 606 contacts to potential victims in Tasmania.

Other common scams included phishing and identity theft, 348 contacts; computer hacking, 302 contacts; lottery and sweepstakes, 264 contacts, and online shopping, 152 contacts.

The state lost the least money from spam and "free" internet offer scams, $825; mobile phone scams, $825, and door-to-door and home maintenance scams, $840.

The scams which had the top conversion rates, being the number of people who received a scam and then lost money, were online shopping, 50.7 per cent, and health and medical scams, at 50 per cent.

The ACCC report shows that more than 90,000 Australians reported scams last year, with $89,136,975 reported lost.

The data also showed a 45 per cent spike nationally in false billing scams, prompting ACCC deputy chairman Michael Schaper to warn small businesses not to be duped into paying for unwanted or unauthorised listings or advertisements in magazines, journals or business directories.

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