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9 out of 10 people have encountered a scam in past 12 months: CHOICE

Stronger regulations urgently needed to protect consumers.

Last updated: 25 July 2023

New research from CHOICE has revealed 9 in 10 people suspect they have encountered at least one scam in the past 12 months, with over half of respondents encountering a suspected scam every week.

"Scams are increasing rapidly throughout Australia, often creating significant distress and financial hardship for victims. New technological advances mean scams are also becoming more difficult to identify. Our research found 88% of people say scams have become more sophisticated or harder to spot recently," says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.

CHOICE's research also found:

  • 84% of people are being more cautious financially online due to scams 
  • 64% of people worry they could lose money to a scam 
  • 80% of people agreed that the government should legally force businesses to do more to stop scams 

"We urgently need stronger rules that require businesses to do more to protect people from scams. At the moment, companies like banks, digital platforms and telcos are simply not doing enough to safeguard the community," says Kirkland. CHOICE also found that 64% of people say banks should reimburse people who lose money to scams.

"Consumers should not have to bear the entire cost of scam losses. Banks should be required to compensate customers when they fail to take reasonable steps to stop money being stolen through a scam," says Kirkland. 

"A mandatory code which requires banks to reimburse their customers for scam losses would significantly reduce distress for customers affected by scams, and create the right incentives for banks to invest in scam prevention," says Kirkland. 

"As scams surge, it's clear the overwhelming majority of people in Australia would like to see the government force businesses to do more to prevent and detect scams. Stronger regulations would ensure less people fall prey to scams, and reduce the harm caused to those who do," says Kirkland. 

Sign the petition for stronger scam protections here.

Editor's notes: 

CHOICE Consumer Pulse June 2023 is based on a survey of 1,087 Australian households. Quotas were applied for representations in each age group as well as genders and location to ensure coverage in each state and territory across metropolitan and regional areas. Fieldwork was conducted from 7th to 22nd of June 27, 2023.

Media contact

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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.