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People are being urged to be extra vigilant about scams after an almost 90 per cent increase in the number of reports this year, according to new Scamwatch data. Australians have reported a record $211 million in losses to scams so far this year – an increase of 89 per cent compared to the same period last year. A large proportion of victims have been in Victoria, with 49,252 reports filed and losses of $47.9 million until August 31. The losses have already surpassed the $175.6 million reported to Scamwatch for the entirety of 2020. It has led the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to express concern about how scams are evolving and becoming more sophisticated to steal even more money from unsuspecting people. ACCC Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard, said the proportion of reports involving a financial loss had dropped but those who did lose money were losing larger amounts. People aged over 65 experienced the most financial losses. “The average loss so far this year is about $11,000 compared to $7,000 for the same period in 2020” she said. Of the 213,000 reports Scamwatch has received so far this year, 113,000 were about phone scams. These involve scammers calling or texting people, claiming to be from businesses or government departments, to steal people’s personal information and details. More than 30 per cent of the losses were related to phone scams, accounting for more than $63.6 million in losses. “Scammers are pretending to be from…

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