Aussies are losing thousands to investment scams every year, with the number of people falling for imposter bond scams and cryptocurrency cons on the rise.
Australians lost more than $158 million in the first five months of this year alone, which amounted to a 314 per cent increase compared to last year.
Queenslanders are losing the most to investment scams, with the average amount lost in the Sunshine State in 2021 a staggering $24,932.
The analysis of government scam data by BrokerChooser also revealed the Australian Capital Territory had seen the highest increase in average losses.
In 2019, the average losses in the area stood at $3,137. By 2021, that number had risen to $10,442, amounting to an increase of 232.83 per cent.
New South Wales has also seen a surge in the average amount people are losing.
The total number of investment fraud victims increased by 143.84 per cent, with the average losses in 2021 around $21,315 compared to $10,416 in 2019.
Victorians also saw a large jump in average investment scam losses, rising from $9,212 in 2019 to $19,165 in 2021.
As the most populous state, it’s not surprising NSW saw the largest number of investment scams in 2021.
How people are getting conned
The bulk of recent investment scams are related to cryptocurrency, according to ScamWatch.
Australians have been urged to be wary of people asking them to invest or transfer money using cryptocurrency, especially if it’s someone they’ve only met online.
There’s also been an increase in phoney bond scams, with $10.9 million reported lost.
Imposter bond scammers usually impersonate real financial companies or banks and claim to offer government or Treasury bonds or fixed-term deposits.
ScamWatch has also found there had been an increase in text message scams, which had overtaken phone calls as the most common line of fraudulent communication.
ScamWatch warned the public to be suspicious of unexpected phone calls or texts asking them to invest, and urged them to hang up and/or delete the message.