Unfortunately, Australia has seen a drastic rise in crypto scamming for the year 2018. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, as well as other government agencies crypto scams have risen significantly the last year totaling 674 separate cases and reported losses are more than AU$6.1 million (US$4.3 million). This is an almost 200% increase to the losses suffered in 2017 (US$1.48 million). The information comes from the tenth annual “Targeting Scams” report of the ACCC.
Reading through the report it seems the gist of the scam is quite straightforward with online scammers appealing to traders through fake trading platforms and promises of major winnings on crypto currencies. Of course, once the consumer wishes to withdraw said winnings a technical problem occurs or the people behind the website simply stop answering. Some reports tell us that clients were asked by scammers to visit nearby bitcoin ATMs to convert fiat into cryptocurrency and transfer it to them. All in all, the ACCC reports that victims of investment scams for 2018 lost a total of $1.83 million in cryptocurrencies.
A peculiar fact is that almost half of all the reported scams were made by men between the ages of 25 and 34 which leads us to conclude that this is the biggest target group for online scammers.
However, worse than it seems, according to the ACCC Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard “these record losses are likely just the tip of the iceberg. We know that not everyone who suffers a loss to a scammer reports it to a government agency” which means it is reasonable to suspect that the victims of crypto scams are even more.
Delia Rickard further states that the total combined losses of both fiat and cryptocurrency trading amount to more than $349 million for the last year which is an increase of more than a $100 million since 2017.