Figures from an Australian Bureau of Statistics survey show that some 806,000 people in Australia experienced personal fraud in a recent 12-month period (ABS 2008). The survey, funded by the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce, showed personal financial losses of almost $977 million, with a median financial loss of $453 per person. The victimisation rate was five percent of the population aged 15 years or more: three percent through identity fraud, and two percent through scams. The most common form of personal fraud was credit card fraud (more than 383,000 persons, or a victimisation rate of 2.4%). Prominent scams to which Australians fell prey included lotteries and pyramid schemes. Lottery scams asked the victim for personal financial information and/or bank account details for payment of winnings from a lottery they had not entered. These accounted for 84,100 persons, or a victimisation rate of 0.5 percent. Pyramid schemes, in which earnings and promotions depend on victims' capacity to recruit others into the scheme, accounted for 70,900 persons, or a victimisation rate of 0.4 percent. Males were more likely than females to fall victim to scams, with victimisation rates of 2.3 and 1.8 percent respectively. The figure below shows that those aged 35 to 44 years appear to be more susceptible than those in any other 10-year age group to scams and that identity fraud is almost equally common amongst age groups spanning 25 to 54 years.
Fraud victimisation, by age (percent)
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2008. Personal fraud Australia. ABS cat. no. 4528.0