Australians lose $225M to scams, warned to be wary of crypto schemes

By Ralph Trayfalgar, Updated:

Following a report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), crypto holders are warned to be on the lookout for scams involving cryptocurrency.

Data from the ACCC finds that the number of fraudulent cryptocurrency transactions has significantly increased this year.

Between January 1 and May 1 of 2022, people in Australia have reportedly lost about AU$225 million to scams, an increase of 166 percent over the previous year. From this amount, some 77 percent, or AU$173.8 million, were lost due to investment scams. This represents an increase of 314 percent when compared to the same period last year.

According to the most current research, the most popular kind of payment mechanism utilized by fraudulent investment schemes was cryptocurrency, such as that used for bitcoin casino payments. Scams involving cryptocurrency investments were responsible for losses of nearly AU$125 million in 2018.

What is even more concerning is the fact that the data from the ACCC indicates that the actual losses may possibly be larger this year. This is due to the fact that only around 13 percent of the losses are reported to Scamwatch on average.

In addition, the report pointed out that, although there was a big increase in the amount of money lost due to scams, at the same time, there was a minor decline in the number of reports.

Delia Rickard, who serves as the vice chair of the ACCC, issued a statement cautioning the people of Australia and New Zealand to be wary of fraudulent financial schemes. Rickard continued by saying that people must also exercise extreme caution when it comes to investing, particularly where digital casino payment methods like bitcoin are involved.

She claims that customers who are not aware of the manner of trade involved in cryptocurrencies are the primary targets of cryptocurrency frauds.

“Australians should be very wary of anyone asking them to invest in or transfer money using cryptocurrency, especially if it’s someone you have only met online,” Rickard stated. “Many consumers are unfamiliar with the complexities of cryptocurrency and this can make them more vulnerable to scams.” 

According to the most recent data, the most common tactic utilized by con artists this year was sending fraudulent messages through text message. Between the 1st of January and the 1st of May of this year, a text message was utilized in around 54 percent of the frauds.

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