Survey reveals why phishing scams in Australia go unreported

Grace Macej 27 Jan 2022

Avast takes a deep dive into Australians’ experience with phishing scams

A record number of call, text message, and email phishing scams have been reported this year. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australians have reported over 62,000 phishing scams this year, with a record amount of over $3.72 million in losses reported so far. 

However, considering Avast’s research, the total loss could be much more: We conducted recent research that has revealed that close to two in three (64%) Australians have encountered a phishing scam and almost two in five (37%) have fallen victim, but almost half of those (48%) who have been a victim have not reported it. 

Our research found that almost half of Australians have encountered an email phishing scam (48%), followed by text message phishing scams (39%), phone call phishing scams (37%), and phishing websites (20%). Unsurprisingly, due to the high volume of email phishing encountered, most people have fallen victim to this type of scam (57%), with phone phishing (47%) and text message phishing (47%) next.

Of those who have fallen victim, 40% had to cancel their credit/debit card, 36% had to change their online passwords, 35% had money stolen, 29% had their personal data stolen and 25% had their personal identity stolen, showing that the ramifications are broad. Of those who had money stolen, 45% have lost between $50 to $1,000 and 7% have lost over $1,000.

Avast Cybersecurity Expert Stephen Kho says, “Avast Threat Lab data reveals that phishing attacks are on the rise with a monthly average of over 6,000 phishing attacks per 100,000 people in Australia. In the second half of 2021, the risk of encountering a phishing attack has grown by over 35% in the country. The prevalence of phishing scams right now reinforces how important it is for Australians to remain vigilant and be aware of scam trends so they can avoid falling victim.”

Why aren’t people reporting scams?

Also revealed by the research were the top five reasons why victims have not reported being scammed:

  • 37% said it wasn’t worth the hassle
  • 36% didn’t know who to report the scam to 
  • 34% believed that the authorities wouldn’t be able to find the criminal behind the scam anyway
  • 31% said that the information taken by the scam wasn’t worth anything 
  • 28% said that the financial loss wasn’t high enough to care about

“Reporting phishing scams that you encounter is critical to ensure we keep our digital world as safe as possible. Even if you aren’t personally affected by the scam in a significant way, you could be helping to protect the next target from falling victim. According to our research, almost half (48%) of those who were a victim of a phishing scam and reported it said that the criminals behind the scam were found,” says Kho.  

To help Australians understand the various types of phishing scams out there, we teamed up with comedian Josh Hawkins in his latest video to showcase the types of scams and remind Australians to not fall for phishing scams with some key tips.

Hawkins says, “I’ve personally experienced so many phishing scams and I’ve sadly read numerous news stories about people falling for them as well. I created this video to get people to start talking about the classic signs of a phishing scam with their family and friends so they are more aware of what’s out there and take the time to educate themselves on how to recognize these scams and avoid falling for them.” 

4 tips to help you avoid falling for a phishing scam

  • Look carefully at the sender's address and phone number. Attackers usually have a generic mobile number or email address that has nothing to do with the company they claim to be from, so always check the source.

  • Don’t click, download, or reply. If you feel the email or text message looks suspicious, don't click on any links, download any attachments, or reply. Also make sure you have a powerful antivirus program installed that can detect and block phishing attacks before they cause damage.

  • Don't trust offers that are "too good to be true." Be extra vigilant around great deals, especially during the shopping season, whether they come by email, text or phone call. Take the time to assess whether the deal is real, and if in doubt don’t proceed.

  • Beware of emails that want to invoke fear. Some phishing attacks will tell you that your account has been suspended, that you have not paid fees, or that someone has tried to change your password so you need to check now by clicking a link. All this is just a game with your fear aimed to extract your valuable personal data from you.

*Survey conducted from September 21-28, 2021, for Avast by Dynata among 1,000 Australians

--> -->