Aussies too overconfident in scam-spotting abilities

Fraud Scam detection Australians

Despite more than half of Australians (51 per cent) claiming to be ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ knowledgeable about scams and fraudulent activity, a significant number still appear to be falling victim to scammers, according to the latest report from credit card giant Visa.

A little under one in three surveyed Australians (30 per cent) reported that they had fallen victim to scammers – a figure similar to the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, Visa’s Fraudulese: The Language of Fraud survey revealed, which surveyed 400 Australian adults among a total of 6,000 adults worldwide.

However, the success of these scams appears to run counter to Australians’ self-assessed ability to detect fraud and scam activity.

In particular, Australians reported that they were highly suspicious of requests to reset passwords (78 per cent) and any notices regarding problems with an order, a subscription or an account (63 per cent).

Surveyed Australians, the report found, also exhibited a high level of discernment regarding the most common words or phrases employed by fraudsters. Around half (46 per cent) said they were mistrusting and suspicious of the most common fraud tactics and phrases, compared to just one in five (21 per cent) in Asia Pacific.

More than two out of three (72 per cent) Aussies reported they would confirm whether a communication is sent from a valid email address, compared to 55 per cent from Asia Pacific. Further, around 64 per cent said they would check that words are spelt correctly, compared to 46 per cent in the region.

Globally, consumers who describe themselves as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ knowledgeable in recognising scams are more likely than others to respond to or act on at least one type of message commonly used by scammers (72 per cent, compared to 64 per cent of those who say they are ‘somewhat knowledgeable’ or ‘less’).

These individuals are more likely to respond to messages about a financial opportunity (34 per cent, compared to 23 per cent of those who describe themselves as less knowledgeable).

While expressing confidence in their own scam-spotting abilities, the vast majority (81 per cent) of Australians surveyed showed a strong level of concern over their friends or family members falling victim to scams. In particular, surveyed Australians feared friends and family may likely fall victim to fake emails or text messages asking them to verify their account information or an overdrawn bank account, or fake notices about winning a gift card or product from an online shopping site.

“Understanding the language of fraud is increasingly essential in our digital-first world,” said Martyna Lazar, Visa’s head of risk in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

“While our new study demonstrates that Australian consumers are savvy when it comes to spotting signs of fraud in our emails, texts and messages, scammers have reached new heights of sophistication.”

Curiously, while 94 per cent of Australian respondents believe ‘older people’ are more likely to fall victim to online scams, globally, Millennials (39 per cent) and Gen Zs (38 per cent) were in fact more likely to report they were a victim of a scam, versus Boomers (29 per cent) and Gen Xs (33 per cent).