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Delivery scams: Billions lost as 73% of Australians fall prey

Delivery scams: Billions lost as 73% of Australians fall prey
Delivery scams: Billions lost as 73% of Australians fall prey

A staggering three out of four Australians are targeted by delivery scams, making it the most common type of scam in the country. These incidents often result in identity theft and financial losses. 

The research by Pollfish in April 2024 – commissioned by Australia Post – highlights the need for vigilance when tracking parcels. The survey was conducted on a nationally representative sample of citizens and shows that 5% lost more than $20,000 to scammers. 

More than half (54%) of those surveyed initially believed a fake delivery message was legitimate and pursued it before realizing the content was fraudulent.

Delivery scams in Australia

Shockingly, more than 80% of Australians consistently receive between one to 10 scam texts and calls every week. Some even receive 16 or more scam emails a week.  

The most common scams are related to delivery and packages (73%), followed by overdue toll fees (49%), winning prize money or holiday packages (39%), and purchases that were never made (36%). 

Other types of scams include: 

  • Banking matters (31%) 
  • Telecommunications (26%)
  • Unpaid taxes (22%)
  • Children losing their phones (8%)

Australians are “losing billions of dollars” to scams annually, says Australia Post’s CEO, Paul Graham. “Scam attempts are becoming more sophisticated, frequent and increasingly harder to detect.” 

He says the latest research reveals that “most of us have already been targeted.” 

In most cases, scammers target people who are already expecting a package. This makes it even more challenging to identify fraudulent messages and increases the likelihood of falling victim to the scam.

Why does this matter? Australians are losing billions of dollars each year. 

Billions lost 

Graham’s statement is backed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) latest report (released in April 2024) on scam activity in 2023. During that period, scam reports in Australia increased by 18.5% – from 601,000 compared to 507,000 in 2022.

In addition, the total combined losses reported by ScamWatch, ReportCyber, IDCARE and other watchdogs amounted to $2.74 billion over four years: 

  • $1.3 billion was lost to investment scams
  • $256 million was lost to remote access attacks
  • $201 million lost to romance scams
  • $137 million lost to phishing attempts, and 
  • Nearly $92 million lost to payment redirections.  

Australians aged 65 and over are scammed for the most money in total, while middle aged adults report scams most frequently. Reports filed by tech-savvy younger and middle-aged adults show lower susceptibility.

australian delivery scams billions lost
Source: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

Other key points: 

  • The 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 age groups had the highest number of reports – over 50,000 each. 
  • However, their total losses were lower than the 65+ group.
  • Those under 18 had by far the lowest number of reports and losses.

As the age bracket increases, the total dollar losses rise sharply.

ALSO READ: The $2.2 billion heist: Millions of Australians fall victim to card fraud

Delivery scams: How to protect yourself

The ACCC offers top tips for safeguarding yourself against scams:

  • Never click on links in texts or emails. 
  • Turn on real-time tracking notifications.
  • Use official apps when tracking deliveries. 
  • Don’t give money or personal information if unsure. 
  • Scammers create a sense of urgency, so don’t rush to act.
  • Act quickly if something feels wrong and report it to your bank.

List of current scams known to Australia Post can be viewed here

About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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