According to a report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reveals that the Australian citizens lost over A$21 million (US$14.5 million) to the crypto investment scams in the last year alone. The ACCC is not the only government agency that has reported such numbers. Governments all over the world are reporting an increase in crypto-related crimes in the past year. Earlier, it was reported that Singapore witnessed a surge in ransomware attacks in 2019.
“Scammers are shifting to digital currency mode of payments to fraud victims.”
The ACC’s report stated that scammers are shifting to more modern payment methods like crypto, which are often harder to trace than traditional ones. The anonymity of unregulated cryptocurrencies and other real-time payment channels impedes the ability to recover funds or identify scammers, the report added. According to the regulator, the amount of money Australian citizens lost to cryptocurrency scams in 2019 is roughly four times the amount lost in the previous year. A total of 1,810 crypto scams were reported to the ACCC last year, and BTC was the most popular cryptocurrency used in these scams. Crypto scams involving bitcoin accounted for A$19.4 million of the A$21 million lost.
Crypto scams increase as bitcoin continues to get mainstream exposure.
The ACC report noted that scammers usually target people who are already interested in investing and cryptocurrencies. As with other typical investment scams, victims are offered an opportunity to make high returns in no time. Australia is not the only country that witnessed a surge in crypto scams in the past year. As reported earlier, Singapore witnessed a surge in the ransomware attacks in 2019. Crypto scams amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have also surged. The Federal Bureau of Investigation had earlier issued a warning of a surge in crypto scams amid the pandemic and how scammers would tailor their pitch to lure in victims.