A report into consumer scams has found that the amount of consumer fraud more than doubled between 2009 and 2010.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed that it received 42,000 scam-related reports in 2010, compared with around 20,000 in 2009. "The ACCC's work shows that consumer scams have become a serious form of economic crime, particularly in the online area," said ACCC deputy chair Peter Kell.
The ACCC report highlighted a number of areas where the level of fraudulent activity has increased. In particular, Kell noted the increase in scams where the perpetrators impersonate government departments, as well as a surge in scams initiated by telephone - from around 2000 reports in 2009 to more than 14,000 in 2010.
"It appears that many of these calls have originated offshore and it's likely that they are taking advantage of cheap or free voice-over internet services," he said.
Despite the increasing amount of fraud in 2010 as compared to 2009, the amount reported lost in 2010 dropped from $70 million to $63 million.
The ACCC released the report to coincide with National Consumer Fraud Week from 7 to 13 March.