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Spike In Aussies Scammed Through Social Media

We lost more than $300 million last year

Spike In Aussies Scammed Through Social Media

As many of us access social media more and more, it turns out scammers are as well, costing Aussie more than $300 million in 2016.

Turns out scammers are even targeting different age groups with different scams; those aged 55 - 64 are copping dating and romance scams, while those aged 45 - 54 are most affected by investment scams.

It's gotten so bad, Australia's consumer watchdog has spoken out saying we need to be more careful when using the like of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard says the scams are often very sophisticated and targeted.

"They put a lot of time and effort into grooming people in both the romance scams and the investment scams because they are so lucrative," Ms Rickard said.

Losses through dating and romance scams fell to $42 million but the scammers are increasingly using social media, particularly Facebook, to find their victims instead of online dating sites.

“Dating and romance scams have now evolved on social media platforms, and often involve blackmail through sextortion," Ms Rickard said, referring to the use of compromising images of the victim to extort money.

“They’re also - and I think social media makes this easier for them - very good at targeting those that they know are most likely to not just fall for the scam but to have some money behind them.”

The $299.8 million lost to scams by Australians in 2016 - up $70 million on the previous year - is believed to be only the tip of the iceberg as many victims do not go to the authorities.

An ABS survey last year estimated the total amount lost to personal fraud to be closer to $3 billion.

With AAP