Hundreds of thousands of dollars is lost to scammers every year, with Tasmanians continuing to fall victim to cyber criminals.
From puppy scams to fake Gumtree ads, at least 120 reports were made to the state's Serious Financial Crime Team each month.
And the police investigating those crimes were spending countless hours tracking down the crooks, most of which were overseas.
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Launceston-based Detective Sergeant Paul Turner, who is the head of the investigative unit, said roughly 70 per cent of scammers targeting Tasmanians were not in the state, or even the country.
Instead they use a middle-man or "money mule" to lure a buyer into depositing cash into a local account, only to send the funds overseas.
And while police could not be certain what all scammers were using their illegal funds for, Detective Sergeant Turner said a lot of scams in Tasmania were linked to organised crime syndicates.
The Serious Financial Crime Team falls under the recently established Crime and Intelligence Command.
The command focuses on cybercrime, online fraud, organised crime, serious financial crime, firearm trafficking, serious drug distribution, and online child exploitation.
But Detective Sergeant Turner's own focus is financial loss.
Having been in the role for about nine months now, he has seen people of all ages send tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of dollars to scammers.
One of the more common scams involved puppies, with a number of victims handing over up to $20,000 for a dog that did not exist.
Online car sales were proving to be another trap for Tasmanians, with one example from Devonport where at least 50 reports were made to police about a Hilux advertised on Facebook marketplace.
"At least 50 people have purchased the same vehicle, so that Hilux is now worth about a half a million dollars," Detective Sergeant Turner said.
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"Some simple checks like putting the advertisement headline into Google would have disclosed that was a scam."
One of the strangest cases investigated since he took on the role involved a man who purchased a virtual castle in an online interactive game for $12,000.
The owner of the castle reclaimed the rights to it, and the man lost the cash. The scams that involved the most significant amounts of cash, however, were investment related, with the victim falsely offered high returns.
"These people invest large amounts of their superannuation, and their savings for retirement into these cryptocurrency schemes, and they are attracted to the promise of large returns, when in fact they are simply scams," Detective Sergeant Turner said.
If it seems too good to be true, it is usually not true.Detective Sergeant Turner
One recent example saw a Tasmanian woman invest nearly $250,000 into a global scam.
Tasmania Police worked with NSW police, and overseas authorities to track down the cash, uncovering the cryptocurrency scam.
Police froze a series of cryptocurrency wallets, with about eight million dollars seized as part of the global investigation.
"We are now in the legal process of recovering that woman's money, so that was a significant win to be able to liaise with the different agencies to stop that money before it was taken out of the wallets," Detective Sergeant Turner said.
But it wasn't just people in the community being scammed, with businesses targeted too. This common scam was referred to as a business email compromise, otherwise known as a BEC.
"It is where the business has their email compromised, and the offenders are sitting back in a location intercepting those emails and changing account numbers on invoices, large invoices up to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. So people paying the bills think it's going to the right person, but it is actually going to a money mule or going offshore," Detective Sergeant Turner explained.
"It is going to be a big challenge for businesses to make sure they have got the correct security on their devices and on the programs they use."
While anecdotally older Tasmanians fall victim to cybercrime Detective Sergeant Turner said there were recent reports of women as young as 20 sending thousands of dollars to scammers claiming to be from the tax department.
"Anyone that has access to a device that is connected to the internet is a target, anyone who has got a mobile phone, and can receive text messages, is being targeted," he said.
And since the coronavirus pandemic, more and more people were using computers and mobile phones to do their banking, and their shopping.
COVID-19 itself had also been used by scammers to trick Australians into handing over their money.
Since the outbreak, Scamwatch had received more than 6120 reports mentioning coronavirus with more than $8,400,000 in reported losses.
The coronavirus vaccine has also been used in scams, with criminals requesting payment for early access to the vaccines, offers to mail vaccines, offers to pay money as an investment opportunity in the Pfizer vaccines, and fake surveys related to vaccines that offer prizes or early access.
The pandemic also saw a rise in rental and accommodation scams nationally, with more than $300,000 lost between January and September last year - an increase of 76 per cent compared to the same time period in 2019.
With technology only advancing, Detective Sergeant Turner said the key message for Tasmanians, and Australians, was to implement their own measures to protect against cybercriminals.
"As a society we have locked our front door, we have locked our car, but now using these new devices you have to make sure they are protected, everything from your phone to your iPad to your home computer to your business computer," he said.
To report a scam contact Tasmania Police on 131 444 or online at www.scamwatch.gov.au.
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