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Scams are surging – CHOICE calls on banks to do more

We're fighting for stronger regulations to protect Australians from increasing instances of fraud.

Scams consumer pulse LEAD 1
Last updated: 25 July 2023


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Need to know

  • Australians believe they’re being targeted by fraud on a weekly basis and are concerned by increasingly sophisticated scams
  • CHOICE is calling for stronger enforceable regulations to protect people from scams
  • One way to do this would be to require banks to reimburse those who lose money to fraud

Data from CHOICE's latest Consumer Pulse survey shows over 50% of Australians believe they're being targeted by a scam every week. They want governments and companies to do more to crack down on fraud, and CHOICE agrees there is more that can be done, calling for greater safeguards for consumers.

The survey of more than 1000 Australians also found that nine out of 10 people have come across at least one suspected scam in the past year. The data, gathered over several weeks in June, comes in the wake of an ACCC report revealing that Australians lost $3.1 billion to scams last year – an 80% increase from the year before.

Over 50% of Australians believe they're being targeted by a scam every week

"The huge increase in money lost to scams shows that Australia has become a significant target for scammers – who often operate as part of sophisticated international criminal syndicates," says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.

This was also reflected in our survey results, with 88% of respondents indicating that they think scams are becoming more sophisticated or harder to spot and 84% saying they are now more cautious about managing their finances online for fear of fraud.

Eight out of 10 consumers also told CHOICE they're in favour of the government legally requiring businesses to do more to stop scams.

"Many of us are worried about our friends and family members becoming victims of scams," says Kirkland.

"The overwhelming majority of people in Australia want the government to force businesses to do more to protect people from scams. We welcome the government's commitment to consult on these issues over the coming months," Kirkland adds.

What CHOICE is fighting for

CHOICE wants to see stronger protections for consumers and says businesses are well-placed to provide these.

"Companies like banks, telcos and digital platforms like Meta are not doing enough to detect scams and prevent them from reaching people through their systems," says Kirkland.

"Although there have been some positive steps in the right direction, what we really need are strong, enforceable rules that require businesses to protect people from scams."

One rule that CHOICE believes could go a long way to protecting consumers is a requirement for banks to reimburse scam victims. This was supported by 64% of our survey respondents.

"[We need] banks to reimburse customers when they fail to stop money being stolen through a scam," Kirkland says.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.