Scams targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers on the rise

New data warns that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are increasingly becoming the victims of scams, with remote communities facing unique challenges.

From the article:

  • Data shows the number of scam victims and the total losses among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are on the rise
  • Remote communities face unique challenges when shopping online and may receive less support when scammed
  • The ACCC says education and awareness in First Nations communities will be a focus of the new National Anti-Scams Centre

Read the full investigation:


I found the assertions that scams are targeting A&TSI people to be rather thin.

The first segment about shipping container scams being on the rise has no discernible link to A&TSI people at all.

Then we have Commissioner Blake reported as:

Following the floods, Facebook messages were sent to Kimberly residents, many of whom are Aboriginal, saying the government was offering disaster relief payments of $20,000. The messages were scams and the senders later requested fees be paid upfront to receive the payments.

The method of operation of that scam is to target people who are in a disaster area because they will have heard about disaster relief and other support and would be stressed and looking for help and so likely to fall into the trap. There is no future in targeting people unless they are in a disaster area.

It so happens many in that area are A&TSI, I see no reason to think they were targeted because of that, it was because of their situation.

Choice dutifully reported the Commissioner’s opinion but said nothing about her dubious logic.

Consider the phone scams constantly conducted from overseas to this country. Most of the victims are not A&TSI, does that mean whites are being targeted? No it is people with money, who can be contacted by phone, who are far away and cannot take action against the scammers who are targeted - who happen to be mainly white.

Losses by A&TSI folk apparently going up by 5% doesn’t jump up and say to me somebody is targeting that demographic. It is a small rise embedded in an unreliable self reported collection of data. With no added information about how, where and why the change is happening the raw figure on its own does not provide a reason for its existence.

The financial councillor Price-Busch is reported as:

He says tailored messaging and awareness raising for First Nations communities is essential, as well as encouraging those in the community to speak up.

Which is fine but it doesn’t say those people are being targeted.

So while there is some evidence that A&TSI people are losing more to scams, and I think it is good that they should be given more support in that area, I don’t see that the headline that they are being targeted is justified.

Before anyone asks how I know that A&TSI people are not being targeted, I don’t, there isn’t enough data to support either conclusion.

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Car loans and shonky cars are a big issue, I have seen the evidence with my own eyes in many remote communities I have been to. Extended family have been affected by these issues, it isn’t anything new though.

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