Recap on the ACCC 2023 Report: Industry Round Up
Posted: Friday, May 03
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  • Recap on the ACCC 2023 Report: Industry Round Up
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Recap on the ACCC 2023 Report: Industry Round Up

Recently the ACCC released their report from the National Anti-Scam Centre on scams activity in 2023, which highlighted a decrease in financial losses despite an increase in scam reports. The total combined losses reported in 2023 were $2.74 billion, showing a 13% decrease compared to the previous year. Efforts from Government, private sector, and law enforcement led to this decline.

The report detailed the importance of coordinated prevention, detection, and response initiatives to protect Australians from scams. The National Anti-Scam Centre will continue developing technology to combat scams and raise awareness among at-risk communities.

National Anti-Scam Centre

The National Anti-Scam Centre was founded by the Australian Government on July 1, 2023, within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Together, the National Anti-Scam Centre and its allies in the public sector, business, law enforcement, and consumer advocacy are dedicated to making Australia a more difficult target for scammers and minimising the severe financial and psychological damage that scams create.

The Government allocated $86.5 million in the 2023–24 budget to create a National Anti-Scam Centre as a model collaboration between Government and business worldwide to create Australia’s first SMS Sender ID register to aid in thwarting scammers who pose as reputable businesses or Government agencies in text messages.

Reference: Report of the National Anti-Scam Centre on scams activity 2023

Key Report Highlights

Depending on the sort of scam and their knowledge of the function of private and reporting agencies, Australians report scammers to a variety of institutions. The National Anti-Scam Centre has started compiling data from the most popular sources in order to give a more realistic image of the extent of scam activity in Australia. Over the course of the next 12 months, this investigation will produce more evidence, which will help target actions to lessen the harm that scammers do. Australians are still being urged to report scams by the National Anti-Scam Centre and its affiliates. Reports assist in spotting patterns, which can notify others and encourage disruptive behaviour.

Reference: Report of the National Anti-Scam Centre on scams activity 2023

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), IDCARE, Scamwatch, ReportCyber, Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX), and other sources of information are incorporated into the report.

The combined scam reports and losses are broken down in Table 1 below:

Reference: Report of the National Anti-Scam Centre on scams activity 2023

In addition to highlighting the drop in reported losses to investment scams from $1.5 billion in 2022 to $1.3 billion in 2023, Table 2 below lists the top 5 scam types by financial loss.

Reference: Report of the National Anti-Scam Centre on scams activity 2023

“Investment and romance scams occupying two of the top three spots is expected as we’ve seen a surge in this type of activity over the last few years, particularly through pig butchering scams, which have become extremely common across messaging platforms, dating and social media apps. These types of scams blur the line between both investment and romance scams because they often combine the two.

Commented Satnam Narang, Senior Staff Research Engineer at Tenable.

1. Financial Loss Decrease

Total losses reported in 2023 were $2.74 billion, a 13% decrease from the previous year. Australians reported losses of over $2.74 billion in 2023 (a 13% reduction) compared to a combined total of over 601,000 reports in 2023 (an 18.5% rise).

Chris Sharp, CEO, Pax8 APAC commented,

“While it’s promising to see the financial losses of scam activity reduce in 2023, the National Anti-Scam Centre’s inaugural report is an important reminder that scam encounters aren’t an ‘if’ but a ‘when’ occurrence for Australian individuals and business. And for those affected, the losses are devastating.”

Renée Burton, Head of Threat Intelligence at Infoblox added,

“Australia and New Zealand have high disposable income per capita and there are many mum and dad investors looking to play the market. Threat actors like Savvy Seahorse see opportunity in this, and the advent of social media advertising gives these cybercriminals a cheap and easy way to flaunt their scam websites to millions of people.

2. Increase in Scam Reports

Australians made over 601,000 scam reports in 2023, showing an 18.5% increase from 2022. Australians filed nearly 500,000 reports in 2022, detailing cumulative losses over $3.1 billion.

Shain Singh, Principal Security Architect, APCJ at F5 commented,

“Though financial losses from scams decreased, the report highlighted a concerning trend as the number of reported scams increased. Financial loss is not the only damaging consequence of a scam – reputational damage, data breaches, operational disruption, legal and regulatory consequences, damage to customer relationships, and identity theft are all important issues that warrant proactive measures to mitigate. Scammers are increasingly relying on automated methods with stolen credentials.”

3. Government and Private Sector Collaboration

Efforts from various sectors contributed to the decline in financial losses and the increase in scam prevention initiatives.

4. Future Initiatives

Planned actions include developing enforceable obligations, expanding scam website takedowns, and enhancing data sharing for faster scam detection and response.

Mr Sharp explained,

“Industry doesn’t just want to volunteer – we want a full-time seat at the table so that top-tier defences can be made accessible and affordable for every Australian business coming up against scammers and their KPIs.”

Satnam Narang continued,

To use a sports analogy, if you take the lead in a match, you don’t sit back and wait for your opponent to mount a comeback. You continue to push forward. So, while there are certainly some things to celebrate in this report, it’s part of a larger dance that has been happening for decades now between scammers and those defending consumers. Protecting consumers from scams is vital especially in today’s digital age and combating the efforts of scammers should remain a top priority.

Non Reported Losses

Not every Australian reports these ordeals. Despite the availability of multiple reporting mechanisms, scams are not always fully disclosed, and that certain cohorts are notably underrepresented in official reporting statistics. The National Anti-Scam Centre is working harder to lower the stigma associated with scams and promote reporting from all communities, hence increasing the number of people who feel comfortable reporting them.

Narang continued,

“A decrease in financial losses could be attributed to a few different factors including underreporting by victims due to fear of judgement or fluctuation in the value of cryptocurrency due to market trends.”


The National Anti-Scam Centre’s collaborative efforts have led to a 13.1% decline in reported losses to $2.74 billion in 2023.

The report highlighted the impact of targeted and coordinated disruption activities across various sectors, leading to lower overall financial losses. However, there are concerning emerging scam trends, particularly affecting older people, with increases in reports of financial losses to phishing scams, payment redirection scams, and job scams.

Decline in Reported Losses

The National Anti-Scam Centre’s collaborative efforts have resulted in a 13.1% decline in reported losses to $2.74 billion in 2023. The report shows a decrease in overall financial losses due to targeted disruption activities across various sectors.

Scam Trends

Despite the overall decrease in losses reported, there are concerning emerging scam trends, particularly affecting older people. This includes increases in reports of financial losses to phishing scams, payment redirection scams, and job scams.

Impact on Older People

Older people suffered the greatest harm at the hands of scammers, with those over the age of 65 being disproportionally impacted by investment scams and reporting significant losses to scams resulting from contact initiated on social media.

Future Data Sharing

Through National Anti-Scam Centre data sharing arrangements, there will be more opportunities to integrate and de-conflict data, leading to more accurate reports on scam activity in Australia.

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