Australia Plagued By 200% Rise In Bitcoin-Related Cryptocurrency Scams Last Year

Australia Plagued By 200% Rise In Crypto Scams Last Year

Scams are a problem that has been highly popularized in the cryptocurrency market, as hackers managed to find different ways to attack investors. In a report from the consumer watchdog of Australia, the country, unfortunately, saw a major surge in scams that have impacted them, according to reports from The Next Web’s Hard Fork, among other publications.

With 674 cases to examine, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and other agencies learned from victims that cryptocurrency had been used for the payment towards scammers. Overall, the losses that impacted the country amounted to AU$6.1 million, which is about $4.3 million in USD, according to the tenth edition of the “Targeting Scams” report on Monday. This new number shows a 190% increase from the AU$2.1 million ($1.48 million in USD) that the report stated in 2017.

Many of the scams took place as a result of these fraudsters impersonating real platforms, developing their own false websites. However, when the investors attempted to withdraw their funds from these fake platforms, the cyber criminals chose either made up reasons why the funds were inaccessible, or they disappeared entirely so they couldn’t be contacted.

There are other investment scams that required users to send crypto for the purpose of commodity trading, forex trading, or other opportunities. These investment scams account for the loss of AU$2.6 million ($1.83 million in USD), which was accounted for in the then-value of cryptocurrencies.

In some situations, the victims were urged to use Bitcoin ATMS to make their fiat currency into cryptocurrency first. Then, the scammers had the victims send over their cryptocurrency without any intention of doing anything but bailing on whatever promises they made. Nearly half of the claims on the 674 cases reported were made by men between ages 25 and 34.

Delia Rickard, the deputy chair of the ACCC, commented apart from this report that the total losses, between cryptocurrency and fiat funds, exceeded AU$489 million ($345 million in USD), which is AU$149 million more than what was reported to the ACCC’s Scamwatch program and other authorities in 2017. Some of the scammers have started to ask for the funds to be given to them in the form of iTunes cards, Google Play cards, cryptocurrencies, and related options, sneaking below the anti-scam measures that were developed to stop them.

Rickard added that these “record losses” are likely only a fraction of what was actually lost, considering that victims don’t always report the losses to the authorities. Hopefully, more people will come forward for a clearer view of what these cybercriminals are doing to the Australian economy.

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