(Australian Associated Press)
Fake online stores, dodgy ticket sales, sextortion rackets, and Fortnite rorts are among an expanding suite of strategies used by scammers to target Gen Z Australians.
The ACCC says Australians under 25 lost more than $5 million to scams in 2019, with reports made from this age group increasing faster than older generations.
The competition watchdog on Tuesday said Facebook and Instagram were the most common platforms for reports and losses, but the regulator expects to see more scams emerge on newer platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok.
“Scammers don’t discriminate based on age and the wide range of scams reported by this age group is concerning,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
About 12,000 of the reports made to Scamwatch in 2019 were from people under the age of 25, an increase of 11 per cent compared to 2018 figures.
Reports from this age group increased by 10 percentage points more than any other age group.
Online shopping scams were the most common scams, making up more than 14 per cent of reports and almost 12 per cent of losses among people under 25.
Additionally, scammers are using social media platforms and email as forums for sextortion scams, where they threaten to share intimate images or footage of you online, unless you give in to their demands.
Scammers can also target children who play online video games, such as Fortnite, by offering unlocked achievements or special items in exchange for money or gift card codes without ever transferring the item.
“Almost half of the losses to people under 25 occurred through bank transfer but you should also be wary of sellers asking for payment through unusual payment methods such as gift cards or bitcoin,” Ms Rickard said.
“By targeting children, scammers could obtain personal and banking information from the individual’s parents,” Ms Rickard said.