Digital consumers

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Recent super fund data breaches and increasingly sophisticated super scams demonstrate the urgent need for industry collaboration on a super anti-scam code. Super Consumers Australia today is urging the Federal Government to prioritise the safety of Australians’ 24 million retirement savings accounts by introducing a superannuation industry anti-scam code.

Since 2022, up to 178,000 superannuation members across three super funds have been placed at a heightened risk of phishing scams due to known super fund data breaches.

Read More Advocates Call for New Super Anti-Scam Code

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Romance baiting scams cause significant emotional and financial harm to Australians, with Scamwatch receiving 484 reports of this scam in 2023. Despite overall losses nearly halving in the past year, reports to Scamwatch show that more than $40 million was lost to romance baiting scams in 2023. 

Romance baiting scams disproportionately impact people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, with reports to Scamwatch from these communities accounting for more than 30 per cent ($12 million) of total losses last year.

Read More NASC Warns Consumers to Be Aware to Valentine and Romance Baiting Scams

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The latest data from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) reveals that consumers and small businesses made 14,671 complaints between October and December 2023, an increase of 13.4 percent compared to the previous quarter, but a 17.9 percent decrease compared to the same time last year.

Read More Complaints to TIO Increased for the Quarter But the Yearly Decrease Trend Continues

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Jobs and employment scams were the fastest growing scam type last year, with Australians reporting over 4,800 job scams to Scamwatch in 2023 leading to losses of $24.7 million, compared to $8.7 million in 2022.

Reports to Scamwatch show that these scams are disproportionally affecting younger Australians aged 18-44 years old, including students looking for part-time work. People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds including non-resident visa holders are also particularly at risk.

Read More Employment and Side Hustle Scams on the Rise

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Enforcement Technology, also known as EnfTech, is technology used in any enforcement capacity for investigation, preventative measures, surveillance, remedies and/or sanctions and there could be a vital role for EnfTech to play in consumer protection. With the advent of the global digital market as the new norm for most consumers the need for consumer protection…

Read More Enforcement Technology and Consumer Protection

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“The volume of complaints escalated to AFCA has been increasing at an unsustainable rate,” David Locke, the Chief Ombudsman and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), said.  

“Scam-related complaints to AFCA have nearly doubled between 2022 and 2023. They continue to be of great concern to us. We are also seeing the impact of increased interest rates and cost of living pressures, with complaints involving financial hardship also significantly higher,” Mr Locke said.

Read More Ombudsman Warns of “Unsustainable” Increase as AFCA sees a Record 100,000 Complaints

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The 2023 Australian Consumer Survey has just been released and the figures are interesting, with a little over half of all purchases in Australia are now made online compared to 23% in 2016. The concerns of consumers also reflects this online trend as consumers making online international purchases are often unsure about the application of Australian Consumer Law (ACL), and as more and more people are targeted by, and are concerned about, scams.

Read More Consumer Thoughts: 2023 Australian Consumer Survey Released

GLOBAL STATEMENT Stopping Online Scams Consumers International Congress 2023

As part of the 2023 Global Congress, Consumers International and members have launched a Global Statement to Stop Online Scams. As a member of Consumers International and as a consumer advocacy organisation, the Consumers’ Federation of Australia strongly supports this call to stop online scams. As Australia’s representative to Consumers International, CHOICE is a signature…

Read More CFA Supports Global Anti-Scam Statement and Coalition

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9 out of 10 Australians also support strong penalties for digital platforms who fail to detect and prevent scams.

“Tech giants such as Facebook, Instagram and Google are failing to prevent scammers from using their platforms to target victims, causing enormous amounts of harm to consumers globally. In Australia, losses reported to Scamwatch from scams on social media have increased to over $66 million in 2023, an increase of more than 40% on the same time period in 2022,” says CHOICE Senior Campaigns and Policy Adviser, Alex Soderlund. 

Read More Global Consumer Alliance Urges Governments to Require Tech Companies to Protect People from Scams

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This report documents the nature of some of the more troubling consumer manipulation practices currently occurring in Australia. It explores how targeted advertising affects people who gamble, consume alcohol, are experiencing financial stress, and how it affects children and young people. Each case study describes potential consumer harm and rights violations and goes on to include evidence from the ‘Xandr File’ about the nature of data that is routinely traded for targeted advertising about each of these groups.

A brave, bold and strong response to this issue is necessary, and long overdue. 
A wide range of measures could be implemented to curb this practice

Foreword co-signed by Reset, CHOICE, and CPRC

Read More Report Released, “Australians for Sale: Targeted Advertising, Data Brokering and Consumer Manipulation”

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Every Australian deserves equitable access to banking services. That’s why the Australian Banking Association (ABA) has broadened the scope of its accessibility framework to ensure the banking sector remains inclusive in a fast-changing digital landscape.
An important addition to the Accessibility and Inclusion Principles for Banking Services is a section on embedding accessibility into digital authentication processes, as the banking industry steps up its fight against scams, fraud and identiy theft. 

Read More ABA Updates and Broadens Accessibility Framework