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Big tech responsible for big losses: 249% increase in social media scam losses since 2020

CHOICE calls for strong rules to force digital platforms to rein in scams.

Last updated: 13 March 2024

Consumer group CHOICE is demanding urgent government action to force digital platforms to prevent scam losses, after the National Anti-Scam Centre quarterly report revealed $15.9 million was lost to social media scams in October to December 2023. 

The report follows global support from world leaders at the Global Fraud Summit in London for digital platforms like Meta to do more to prevent scams. 

"It's disappointing that digital platforms are still refusing to come to the table to stop scammers exploiting their tools to steal from people. From October to December last year, social media scams made up a huge 20% of losses for the quarter. In 2023, social media scam losses stole $95 million, a 249% increase since 2020. 76% of 2023's losses were through Meta-owned companies," says Senior Campaigns and Policy Advisor, Alex Soderlund. 

"We continue to see an overwhelming number of likely scam ads across Meta and Google-owned services. Big tech companies have a perverse incentive not to act on scams because they generate advertising revenue, so it's clear that only strong mandatory rules to prevent scams developed and enforced by a regulator will result in any meaningful change for consumers," says Soderlund. 

Editor's notes: 

The NASC quarterly report shows that: 

  • In 2023, losses to social media scams reached $95 million which is a 249% increase in reported losses since 2020.
  • In 2023 the majority of losses to social media scams occurred from contact via Whatsapp (47% of losses), Facebook (20%), Online dating sites (9%) and Instagram (9%). 
  • In the October to December 2023 quarter, 3,792 people reported $15.9 million in losses to scams initiated on social media platforms or online forums. This represents 20% of all reported losses to scams for the quarter. 
  • In the October to December 2023 quarter, of social media scams, people over 65 experience the highest losses of any age group with 30% of all losses for social media being attributable to people over 65. This is a 57% increase compared to the previous quarter for this age group. 

World leaders at the Global Fraud Summit on 11 March 2024 recognised the vast scale of the fraud threat on technology platforms and the need for industry to take further action to strengthen counter-fraud efforts.

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