Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch has provided the latest figures regarding victims of financial fraud and scams in the country. According to the agency, for the first month of 2020, residents lost a whopping AU$2.14 million (approximately US$1.43 million) to investment scams.
In total, the agency received 396 reports against suspected scams were filed, of which 34.3% of reports had experienced financial losses. These figures represent almost a doubling of the figures we saw in January 2019 (AU$1.08 million) and highlight the inherent problem with dodgy investment offerings through social media and cumbersome websites purporting to offer real investing or trading services. This comes on the backdrop of full 2019 figures, which we reported on before and which totalled AU$61.61 million for 2019.
We believe AU authorities should explore regulatory collaboration with their counterparts in law enforcement and Internet services in order to adopt a policy similar to the one being used in Italy – where the financial regulator sets out restrictions on scams or otherwise unauthorized firms in order to close access to such firms for Italian residents. This is done simply by blocking the firms’ websites on the territory of the country in question. We believe such an approach may help deter scams from operating in Australia.