back to article Internet fraud still stings suckers

Australians fell prey to online scams to the tune of around $AUD93.5 million in 2012, and reported nearly 84,000 “scam-related contacts” to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The Commission has just released the results of its 2012 report on scam activity, published as part of Australia's National …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not surprising, they pay more for goods as well.

    1. LarsG

      So so we

      So do we in the UK, it's called being a captive audience on an island.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not gullible

      Imagine a person, who has never seen a mobile phone, seen a television, transport pulled by anything other than a horse, electricity, the light bulb etc, an aeroplane...

      Imagine the look on that persons face as he discovers these things for the first time...

      Well that's the 'Aussie Look' when they use technology.

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Value comparisons

      The number if dollars is a rather poor comparison for that reason, since the conversion factor doesn't include relative cost of products. To make those comparisons there needs to be a standard measure available in both places, ( such as the cost of a BigMac).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    No one is dumber than many Americans who are online. You can sell them ocean front property in Arizona while they are sending thousands of dollars to some long lost relative who is stuck in a foreign country and needs some money to get back home. It's just amazing how dumb people really are.

  3. Gray Ham Bronze badge

    More Gullible?

    The median dollar loss per case in the US was reported as US$600, in Aus in the range $A100-$A499. How does that make Australians more gullible? Not much difference as far as I can see.

    1. Thorne

      Re: More Gullible?

      More people per head of population falling for these scams.

      Personally I wonder the break up of stupid scams verses sneaky scams (Nigerian dictator vrs Westpac email)

      I see a lot of emails pretending to be Telstra, Westpac, CommBank etc. I wonder how many Australians fall for these as opposed to distant relative dying and leaving you millions.

      We Australian have a smaller banking group so it's an easier target than US banks.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More Gullible?

      As a fraction of disposable income the US median of US$600 will probably be equivalent to whatever the AUS median is.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Looked at another way ...

    "Australians do, however, appear to be more gullible than Americans"

    Or you could take the view that most Americans either don't know where Nigeria is or have already maxed out their credit cards and thus the scam is denied ...

  5. Winkypop Silver badge

    Had the bog-standard phone scammer just last night

    They were so adamant that I had a Windows PC, they insisted I did. I said I didn't have any PC, she said (almost screamed) "You are a liar!"

    I asked her if she knew she was scamming people or whether she was just a phone-drone. She was very upset by this and said that I was a liar again, ergo: she was in on it.

    I suggested that ringing people up and calling them a liar wasn't the best strategy.

    I politely recommended that she call her employer a bastard, ....she hung up.

    1. Graham Marsden

      Re: Had the bog-standard phone scammer just last night

      I like saying "Does your mother know what you do for a living? Do you say 'Hi, mum, I've got a job as a scammer and a thief and I like to con people out of money'? Do you think she'll be proud of you and say to her friends 'My child is a crook!'? Hello...? Helloooo.....!" :-)'

      1. Mr. Chuck

        Re: Had the bog-standard phone scammer just last night

        Well it seems to have worked for Mrs. Kray. What's your point'?

  6. Shannon Jacobs

    Hello! I'm a criminal going to rob you! Here's my email address!

    Doesn't this kind of thing amaze you? Isn't this the sort of problem that should have been solved many years ago? I'm a criminal, but just ignore me while I rob someone else!

    Solution hint: Lots of people hate spam, but there are only a very few precious suckers who feed the spams.

    Suggestion: Give us tools to get between the spammers and their victims. If a tiny percentage wanted to help, the suckers would be completely overwhelmed--and the spammers would get no money.

    I'm not suggesting the spammers would become decent human beings. However if you cut off their money, they will move under other less visible rocks.

    1. Fatman

      RE: Re: Hello! I'm a criminal going to rob you! Here's my email address!

      However if you cut off their money, they will move under other less visible rocks heads, they will disappear from the gene pool.


  7. John Tserkezis

    Re: Had the bog-standard phone scammer just last night

    I play along as the dumb user and string them along as long as I can.

    Then I ask them stupid questions (where's the "any" key) till they get the shits and hang up themselves.

    I do the same with the religious nuts at the local shopping mall, if they see me again (they're there every sunday) they actively avoid me, knowing either they're not getting any money out of me, or I'm crazy - I'm OK with either. :-)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who's gullible?

    We're far too quick to swallow these fantasy figures, banged out ten a penny by those who usually have an interest one way or another in them being either very large or very small. Do aussies really lose 93.5 million, or is that just hot air to justify a budget increase (in the UK a budget increase and an ongoing lack of action)? It's high time someone took a sample of these often unbelievable claims and gave them a proper audit. In the case of this announcement, I can imagine all sorts of reasons individuals reporting fraud would inflate the amounts taken.

  9. MrDamage Silver badge

    The latest

    Is a phishing email claiming to be from the Australian Tax Office, claiming there is a problem with the tax return I just lodged, and to "click here" to fix it up.

    Only problem, is nobody will be lodging their tax return for another few weeks yet.

  10. JohnMcL

    According to an EU directive, the word "gullible" is being removed from dictionaries because it causes offence.

  11. Anonymous IV

    Ah - you mean that gullible doesn't travel...

  12. ukgnome

    Social Engineering Scams work best

    And I can prove this - all you need to do is register on my website for more info

    *credit card required

  13. mark 63 Silver badge

    me no good at math , please help

    ok so 4AUD per person x 7bil is 28 billion . I agree

    525billion USD \ 1/3 billion people is 1.66USD? I disagree

    Theres a 3rd of a billion people in the US so to lose 525 billion between them i make it $175 each.

    I fully accept i could be incorrect - i'd just like to know where

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: me no good at math , please help

      the article appears to be in error

      though the article mentions $525 billion, the linked pdf specifies 525 million

      that said, 525B divided by 1/3B is not 175...

      1. mark 63 Silver badge

        Re: me no good at math , please help

        dammit. decimal point escaped again!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Australians twice as gullible as Americans'

    This surprises me if only because of the sheer amount of information on Americans that exists on the net. I don't know why but I've always been especially careful. ID theft has been around a long time and although I've never been a victim, I'm very conscious of it unlike some of my fellow countrymen. I'm a strong consumer advocate, so maybe that's it.

    Anyway I recently found a host of my personal details on and other privacy scraping sites. It was a nasty surprise, as in one case the details included an old FB profile that was always non-public and had been deleted, and in a second case my name was tied to a PO Box address that had only ever been used for personal correspondence...

    In the latter case the US Postal Service must have sold my details or disclosed them without asking me, which I didn't think they were allowed to do! In the former case FB must have had a leak i.e. exposed pages in an botched update, or deliberately exposed data for unknown reasons, as the account was never hacked and wasn't so easily crackable.

    In general all my family and friends are clueless about their privacy. They give out their personal details all day long to anyone. With such a treasure trove of freely available data on the internet, it must be easy to orchestrate a targeted well thought out online scam, So personally I'm amazed Americans aren't hit hardest versus Australians.....

  15. Terry 6 Silver badge



    Er. For the vast majority of people a computer IS a utility. It's there to be used for typing letters, sending emails, typing trivialities on Twitter, doing the shopping and so on.

    Only a tiny minority use it as a hobby/use Linux.

  16. Sentropi
    Thumb Up

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