This week is National Scam Awareness Week.
It's difficult to comprehend the need for such an awareness week, but when you read headlines like "Australian businesses hit hard by email scams" and "Monthly average losses to NBN scams almost triple in 2019" the reality of the need becomes clear.
In May, Scamwatch - which is coordinated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - released data that showed Australians aged over 65 reported more than 26,000 instances of scams in 2018.
The losses added up to $21.4 million.
This was a 5 per cent increase in the number of reports and a 22 per cent increase in losses.
Scamwatch reported $7.6 million was lost to investment scams and $5.8 million lost through dating and romance scams.
It's not just the elderly that are vulnerable.
In 2018, reports in losses to scams was $489 million. That was an increase of $149 million compared to 2017.
More men were scammed than women - men were more likely scammed based on investments and women more likely to be scammed due to romance.
The Scamwatch report also showed nearly 47 per cent of all scams came via the telephone.
Overall investment scams were the main reason for the money lost.
The damage to those scammed goes beyond the financial losses.
There is the embarrassment, further financial harm and emotional factors that arise from such scams.
Scams are often sophisticated and operate in a world where information often flows freely and voluntarily over the internet.
According to Erik Qualman, a leading social media expert, one in three marriages begin online. So it's not a surprise that people are scammed as they search for their Mr or Mrs Right.
The best way to avoid a scam? Be alert, never give out your personal details over the phone or online and like the old adage goes, if it's too good to be true ...
- For more information or to report a scam visit scamwatch.gov.au