There have been 540 online scams reported this year to the government department in charge of cyber security, new figures show.
These figures from the Department of Home Affairs’ Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance (OCSIA) run from January to December 8.
A spokesperson for the department said: ‘we expect that this number of a fraction of what’s actually occurring.’
The most common form has been vishing (calls) or smishing (texts), which make up 298 of the 540 scams reported to us.
Two of the most common text scams reported was a scammer pretending to be HSBC or other online banks and WhatsApp scams from people pretending to be relatives or friends in need of financial help, there were 47 reports of this scam alone.
Treasury Minister Dr Alex Allison warned his followers on Twitter about this scam after he received two ‘dodgy messages’, with the scammer attempting to impersonate one of his children.
The department has had 10 reports of romance scams ranging in levels of severity, in terms of funds lost, it has also had 16 sextortion scams reported by victims.
The OCSIA’s suspicious email reporting service (SERS) has also helped monitor the scams sent to victims email accounts.
This service saw 4,520 email reported to it from January to December 8, 3323 of which contained malicious links.
There have been 441 emails asking for advanced fees from victims, 419 of which were ‘Nigerian Prince-style’ scams, according to a department spokesperson.
There were also 72 fake sextortion emails and 68 malicious attachments included in the figures as well.
All suspicious emails get forwarded over to the NCSC in the UK who take the information and use it to take down scam email domains.
Despite having the number of scams reported, the department said: ‘We don’t ask or track exact amount of figures.
‘We typically see scammers go for the £250 to £1.000 range and this is where they are most successful. The largest confirmed scam we’ve had reported to our cyber-concerns involved a spoofed website and led to the victim losing upwards of £100,000.’