By COBY RENKIN
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has warned Australians are on-track to lose a record amount to scams this year.
According to the ACCC's Scamwatch website, Australians are likely to be fleeced of $532 million by the end of 2019.
Online shopping scams are among the avenues being favoured by thieves, with more than 6,000 victims so far this year. More than half of those have not been able to recover their money.
Melbourne resident Kat Stylianou is among them. She fell victim to an online scammer when she bought tickets to Groovin the Moo, a popular annual music festival.
She posted on Facebook that she was looking for tickets to the event and was messaged by a user claiming to have two available.
"I was super excited to get them,” Ms Stylianou said.
She transferred $260 to the user’s bank account, but was then sent counterfeit tickets.
Ms Stylianou posted on Facebook about the scam and discovered that the same online profile had scammed multiple other people wanting to attend the event.
Ms Stylianou said she contacted her bank but they have not been able to help her get the money back.
"People work hard for their money to go to events,” she said.
"That gets taken away by some lowlife person who makes a fake profile just to get some easy money."
Leading Senior Constable Rebecca Lawther said it can be difficult for authorities to track down online scammers.
"Reports can be made to police,” Leading Senior Constable Lawther said.
"The problem lies in jurisdiction - within where the offence was committed,” she said.
Leading Senior Constable Lawther said while police may be able to track down an account, offenders can be located outside state police jurisdiction and it becomes difficult to discipline offenders.
If a person suspects they have been scammed, she advises to contact both their bank and the platform where the product was advertised, such as Facebook or Gumtree.
According to the Australian Government’s Scamwatch statistics, 6182 cases of social media-based buying and selling scams have been reported this year.
The website warns the scammer's method of payment is usually a good indication the seller is not genuine.
"Scammers will often ask you to pay using a money order, pre-loaded money card, or wire transfer, but if you send your money this way, it’s unlikely you will see it again or receive your purchased item," the website reads.