New research released today highlights that scams are costing the nation more than money, with Australians revealing being scammed took a toll on their time, emotions and relationships.
The Westpac State of Scams Report found that two thirds (68%) of Australians are worried about being scammed, while almost one in ten (9%) have been impacted by a scam in the last 12 months.
Those who were scammed lost an average of $12,000. For Australians impacted by a scam, it took an average of one month to recover the funds.
One in two were also impacted emotionally, including losing faith and trust in others (30%) and feeling anxious about unknown callers (19%).
Two thirds were too embarrassed, ashamed or anxious to let their friends, family or colleagues know that they had been scammed. This increased by 22% for Australians who had fallen for dating and romance scams.
“Scammers are now using very sophisticated techniques, tricks and technologies to convince unsuspecting Australians to hand over their hard-earned cash,” said Ben Young, Westpac Head of Fraud.
“While we’re seeing record levels of financial loss to scams, it’s not just our wallets that are suffering. Our data shows that scammers are taxing our time, creating stress and taking a toll on our relationships.
“With one in five Australians not talking about scam prevention, it’s important we lift the lid on scams through building awareness and taking simple steps to protect ourselves against scammers,” Mr Young said.
To create a safe space for local communities to come together to learn more about scams, Westpac has launched Scam Awareness and Protection Seminars across Australia.
The initiative will see Westpac’s local bankers and scam experts team-up to help educate and empower residents on how to identify and prevent scams.
“Scams can happen to anyone, anywhere. Westpac is committed to helping Australians get ‘scam savvy’ through working with customers and communities on scam education and prevention. Through taking action together now, we want to save Australians time, money and stress in the future,” Mr Young said.