Australia Saw 200% Increase In Crypto Scams In 2018
Thanks to a reported 190% increase in digital currency scams, the Australian consumers managed to experience a loss of $6.1 million Australian dollars ($4.3 million) last year. The data is based on a report courtesy of the Australia’s very own Competition and Consumer Commission.
The Money Laundering Scheme
The significant increase from the 2017 loss, which is AU$2.1 million ($1.48 million), existed despite the recent industry-wide collapse in crypto prices. In fact, Australian authorities revealed that they only received around 674 reports of digital currencies being utilized as payment for scammers.
According to the report, a good number of victims were primarily targeted by investment scams, encouraging them to buy cryptos. If not, they were reportedly asked to make payments in cryptos in order to obtain access to commodity trading, forex trading, and other investment opportunities. As a result, the lost resulted in around AU$2.6 million ($1.8 million). What is worse is the fact that consumers barely have an idea if something goes wrong. And even if they do, it is too late. They are already unable to withdraw funds and have difficult contacting the fraudster responsible.
Mostly Male Victims
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed that more than half of all those who lost money to digital currency scams were male aged 25 to 34. But as far as the realistic number of victims is concerned, it could reportedly be higher. This is most especially the case since there are those who are quite embarrassed to reveal the truth.
There is one victim who thought he was given a trial task that would result in a lucrative job. Unfortunately, later on, he was being pressured to convert fiat currency at BTC ATMs and send it to investors. Due to this, his bank account – pretty much like other victims – was frozen due to a supposed fraud investigation taking place.
The unnamed victim is now cooperating with his bank, as he attempts to unlock his accounts and clear his name. He is confident that what happened to him was merely a money laundering scheme, something that he easily fell for.
As of press time, the ACCC is encouraging all consumers to be extra careful when it comes to payment methods that utilize cryptos. This is most especially if the payment request seems to be coming for a government department.