REVEALED: The people being targeted by scammers
THE ACCC has revealed that young people and the Chinese community have been the main targets of threat-based scams in 2020.
Threat-based scams involve the scammer pretending to be from a government organisation and using intimidation and fear to get money from victims.
People aged 24 and under reported losing more than $4.1 million to threat based scams while Chinese authority scams comprised 74 per cent of all losses to threat based scams.
ACCC deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.it was concerning to see the long-term affects scams can have on young people.
"It is extremely concerning that young people are being so severely emotionally and financially impacted by threat based scams.
"These losses can be devastating and they can also lead to a loss of trust in authority, meaning victims of threat based scams may be less likely to seek help or advice from legitimate agencies in the future."
Ms Rickard said that scammers often exploit the language barrier when targeting the Chinese community.
"Threat based scams disproportionately impact people with English as a second language, including foreign students, who may not fully understand Australian law," Ms Rickard said.
"Victims will often provide personal information to scammers, as they believe they are dealing with a government agency, and this can lead to identity theft or falling victim to further scams."
One of the main ploys used by scammers include prerecorded calls which Ms Rickard said was a telltale sign of a scam.
"Government departments will never send prerecorded messages to your phone or threaten you with immediate arrest," Ms Rickard said.
"If you're not sure whether a call is legitimate, hang up and call the organisation directly by finding their details through an independent search."