A new study has determined which online scams concern Aussies the most.


The report, Australia’s Online Searches for Common Scams, was released by Savvy after examining keyword search data compiled by Ahrefs.com. They identified which online fraud Aussies search for the most, and what time of year these scams were most prevalent in the country’s minds.  


A new age of scams  

Despite an increase in information and identification programs, Aussies are still plagued by scams every day. Gone are the days of dodgy emails and phone calls, now replaced by sophisticated online programs that are well disguised and difficult to identify.

According to a spokesperson from Savvy, Adrian Edlington, the high number of searches related to online fraud indicates the pervasiveness of these issues in the Australian consciousness after several major companies were hacked last year. 

“In our ongoing consumer education efforts, we analyse Ahrefs search data to unveil what scams Australians are actively searching for and when.”

Savvy is one of Australia’s biggest online financial brokers and their research contributes to our understanding of the way scammers impact our society.



Searches and suggestions

The study found that ‘PayID scams’ had an average of 21,500 monthly searches, making them the most researched online scam. Interestingly, searches for ‘MyGov’ scams averaged around 5,500 searches per month, and ‘Linkt scams’ had a massive 12,300 average monthly searches

PayID is an online system that allows users to transfer money between bank accounts. Most often, scams using this platform involve online marketplaces such as Gumtree or Ebay. Scammers will show interest in an item for sale, and insist on paying via PayID. Sellers are then told that the money has been transferred, when no such payment has been made, and their product is lost. According to ScamWatch, buying and selling scams led to $43.2 million in worldwide losses in 2023. 

Interestingly, Linkt scam searches reached a peak in October 2022 after the ABC reported an Aussie woman had lost more than $4000 in a scam. The total amount lost to these false billing scams reached $26.3 million in 2023. Linkt scams often involve SMS or text messages. Individuals will receive a message posing as Linkt claiming an account is overdue or a bill is unpaid. When the individual clicks on the URL, their financial information is captured and used by the scammer. 

Other popular scams include the use of Facebook Marketplace or PayPal. According to Statista, around 50 percent of Australians use Facebook, making it an easy way for hackers and scammers to access large groups of people. 




How to respond 

As part of their research, Savvy suggests several steps everyone can take to ensure they are protected from scams. These include:

  • Avoid opening email attachments from people you don’t know
  • Never reply to a suspected scammer
  • Forward suspicious emails and messages to the company to make sure its legitimate 
  • When buying or selling goods worth significant money, insist on meeting beforehand 
  • Contact your bank immediately if you believe you have sent money or information to a scammer 

For more information, head to the ScamWatch website. 

To learn more about data risks in an online world, click here.