Ninety-three million dollars was reported lost by Australians last year, according to the Australian Competition Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) newly launched Targeting Scams report.

The launch of the report marks the beginning of National Consumer Fraud Week 2013 with this year’s campaign, ‘Outsmart the scammers!’, which focuses on helping Australians shop safely online.

The ACCC received nearly 84,000 contacts in 2012, which showed a 65 per cent increase in reports of online shopping scams as there are increasingly sophisticated scams that use fake logos, emails or websites to lure victims in.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard noted this is likely to reflect the fact that more Australians are also shopping online, warning online shoppers to be alert.

"These scams are increasingly sophisticated, with scammers going to great lengths to convince their targets that they are who they claim to be, copying corporate logos, producing counterfeit and official looking documents, and even creating fake mirror websites with a slightly different web address,” she said.

“Scammers also take advantage of consumers’ trust in popular and well-established online communications channels by targeting them through these platforms. Make sure that the person you are dealing with, and their offer, is the real deal by verifying their identity.”

Scammers also continued to use the phone as their preferred method of delivery, with combined voice and text message scams constituting over half (56 per cent) of all reports to the ACCC. Scams delivered online also increased to represent just over 35 per cent of all scam approaches.

“However, reports of financial losses to the ACCC are just the tip of the iceberg as victims of scams are often too embarrassed to report their experience,” Rickard said.

“Scammers continue to find sophisticated methods to deliver scams, taking advantage of new technologies and communication methods to try and slip under your radar.”

Similar to 2011, the report found nearly 88 per cent of consumers and small businesses contact the ACCC about scam-related activities reported no financial loss. The most common category of loss was between $100 to $499. This indicates the continued use of ‘high volume scams’, which are delivered to large numbers of recipients but causes smaller amounts of loss per victim.

"Education and awareness raising is a key tool in law enforcement efforts to minimise the impact of scams on society. The increasingly online, technological and global nature of scams presents significant challenges in prosecuting the perpetrators of scams. Therefore empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills to identify and avoid being scammed in the first instance is a priority," the ACCC said in the report.

The ACCC’s SCAMwatch website provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.