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15 million Aussies targeted by this simple trick

People walking on the street and Australian money to represent money lose to scams.
Aussies are being pummelled by scam texts and calls. (Source: Getty)

A surprising number of Aussies are targeted by scam text and phone calls that aim to steal personal details, according to new research.

A Finder survey of 1,058 Australians revealed three in four (75 per cent) - equivalent to 15 million people - had received a fraudulent text or call this year alone.

Worryingly, only 21 per cent reported the scam, while 4 per cent didn’t realise until later that it was a hoax.

The research coincides with Scams Awareness Week, which runs from November 7 to 11 and aims to educate Aussies on how to spot a scam.

While many people think they know how to spot a scam, data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed Australians lost $2 billion to scams in 2021, with around $10 million lost through text messages.

Data from Scamwatch has shown more than 50,000 phishing scams have been reported so far in 2022.

Finder money expert Sarah Megginson said scams were becoming more prevalent in the age of technology.

“Aussies have been inundated with fraudulent text and phone calls in recent years, and know how easy it can be to fall victim to these scams,” Megginson said.

“Telcos are now taking a more active approach to deter these scams, but it’s still important to know how to spot one.”

Megginson urged Aussies to ignore calls from unknown numbers.

“Let the caller go to voicemail. If they leave a number, you can check if it matches a real business online,” she said.

"Be especially cautious if you get a message in WhatsApp or on Facebook claiming to be from a relative who has lost their phone and now needs help. This is the so-called 'Mum scam', and is responsible for $2.6 million in losses in the first seven months of the year.”

Megginson said it was important not to reply to any message you thought may be a scam and especially to not click on any links.

“These could link to viruses and other nasties, or fake sites looking to steal your personal data. Read text messages carefully. Poor grammar and spelling are often a giveaway that the SMS is fraudulent,” she said.

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