Skip to content   Skip to footer navigation 

PASSING THE BUCK: how businesses leave scam victims feeling alone and ashamed

May 2024


Scams are currently one of the biggest problems consumers face. Scams cost Australians $2.74 billion in 20231 In 2022-2023 over half a million people living in Australia experienced a scam, an estimated 2.5% of the population. Scams are becoming more complex and increasingly difficult to identify. Nationally representative research from CHOICE found that 88% of people believe that scams have become more sophisticated or harder to spot recently and that 79% of people fear that other people in their life might not spot a scam.

The size of the problem and the corresponding toll scams are taking on consumers has not resulted in a comparable response by the businesses enabling the criminal activity. The businesses with the technology and resources to detect, prevent and respond to scams are not doing enough to protect consumers. Consumers are left to bear the cost of scams, with only 2 to 5% of losses getting reimbursed across the big four banks in the 2021-2022 financial year. Pathways to redress can be convoluted and unclear, with scam victims left feeling unsupported, overwhelmed and not knowing who to contact.

Passing the Buck: how businesses leave scam victims feeling alone and ashamed tracks the journeys of bank transfer or debit card scams, during the scam and the aftermath, including the financial and emotional impacts, the factors that prevented action and the impact of various responses from banks. This report draws on both quantitative survey-based research and qualitative open-ended answers from respondents. It highlights that victims are left feeling alone and ashamed carrying the burden of scams, while the businesses facilitating the criminal activity of scammers face virtually no consequences.

Download the report (PDF)

Related content

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.