Briefing Note Beyond reporting: The experience of scams in Australia​

Have you been scammed? Do you know someone who has?

Each year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) collects data from more than 20,000 Australians in relation to their experiences of different types of fraud, including scams.

CPRC has worked with data released 20 March 2024 (for the 2022-23 financial year period) to present some key findings that explore the incidence and reporting of scams in Australia, and what this has looked like over the last few years.

CPRC has worked with publicly available datapoints from the ABS’ 2022-23 Personal Fraud Survey (PFS), undertaken with a total of 25,934 Australians. Data has been extrapolated to the overall population, providing estimates of numbers of people affected by scam activity in Australia.

This briefing note:

  • explores the incidence of scam experience in Australia
  • determines rates of reporting of scams, and 
  • maps trends over time.

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Key findings

Scams are occurring across Australia

2.3 million Australians or 11.1% of the population experienced a form of personal fraud in the past 12 months – this figure has not decreased and is stable with 10.8% the previous year (2021-22)
More than half a million Australians were a victim of a scam in the past 12 months; again, the same as it was in 2021-22
Australians who were found more likely to be caught out by a scam in 2022-23 were 35-54 years of age, born overseas, tertiary educated, with median socio-economic status or slightly higher

Australians are being scammed through payment requests

Buying and selling scams, involving fake invoices, online shopping or requests to make overpayments have caused the most damage with close to 200,000 Australians falling victim to them.
Both buying and selling scams and upfront payment scams (requests to send money or banking details in return for the false promise of payment) have increased over the past year

Scams remain underreported

While reporting of scams has increased over time, scams remain severely underreported compared to other forms of personal fraud such as card fraud
In 2022-23, most Australians affected by a scam reported it to their bank. Banks continue to be the primary platform scam victims use to report scams
Less than one in ten scammed Australians reported the scam to a government department – the least likely entity to report to
Low government reporting rates combined with a lack of information regarding which government department/s (other than the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) victims of scams make reports to, may obscure the accuracy of some scam prevalence data collected by government

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