April 2021 – The COVID pandemic caused a 15 per cent rise in complaints to the financial ombudsman in the year to March 30.
In the year since lockdowns began in Australia, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) recorded a sharp rise in consumer complaints about scams.
It received more than 11,000 complaints related to COVID-19 in the year leading up to the anniversary of the pandemic’s declaration.
More than 3500 related to travel, presumably travel insurance when travel plans had to be cancelled.
Complaints about car and home insurance dropped because people stayed at home.
AFCA says it has resolved 90 per cent of the COVID-related complaints it received. The financial organisations it regulates fine-tuned their responses to consumers’ issues as the pandemic progressed.
It’s no surprise that scammers acted to take advantage of COVID, and AFCA advises consumers to discuss the risks with family and friends who may be vulnerable.
AFCA information about scams is here www.afca.org.au/scams. There is also advice at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch site www.scamwatch.gov.au.