Each year, the Australian Institute of Criminology conducts an online survey on behalf of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT) to assess consumer fraud experiences of those who choose to participate. Between 2007 and 2011, the surveys sought responses from interested people concerning their experiences in the preceding 12 months. Figure 1 shows the proportion of respondents who received at least one scam invitation by the different delivery media. These results show an overall trend away from scam delivery by mail towards the use of email and telecommunications. Interestingly, the 2011 results indicate that the use of email as an initial means of contacting people has reduced from earlier years, and instead there is a considerable increase in the use of telecommunication services, such as landlines, mobile phones and SMS, to contact potential victims.
Figure 1: Percentage of respondents who received scams by delivery method [see attached PDF for graph]
These results may indicate that scammers are adapting to consumer uptake of new technologies such as smartphones and/or that scammers are moving away from email invitations as potential victims become more aware of what has now become a ‘traditional’ method. Figure 2 shows that while the number of landline services in Australia has remained relatively steady, although declining slightly, there has been an increasing number of mobile phone services operating in Australia. In June 2011 there were 29.3 million mobile phone services. In comparison, the estimated Australian population at this time was 22.6 million (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011).
Figure 2: Number of landline and mobile phone services in Australia by year (million) [see attached PDF for graph]
- Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011. Australian Demographic Statistics. Cat. no. 3101.0. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/3101.0Jun%202011?OpenDocument
- Australian Communications and Media Authority 2007. ACMA Communications Report 2006–07. http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_310950
- Australian Communications and Media Authority 2008. ACMA Communications Report 2007-2008. http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_311541
- Australian Communications and Media Authority 2009. ACMA Communications Report 2008-2009. http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_311972
- Australian Communications and Media Authority 2010. ACMA Communications Report 2009-2010. http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_312368
- Australian Communications and Media Authority 2011. ACMA Communications Report 2010-2011. http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_410254