Australia has become well known for its big push towards endorsing both blockchain and cryptocurrency use, but like anywhere the country is prone to scams as recent figures just released have revealed, with over USD 4 million dollars lost to cryptocurrency scams in 2018.
However, it appears that the AUD 6.1 million lost to cryptocurrency scams last year was just the tip of the scamming iceberg according to a recent survey by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Scams covering all sectors totaled 378,000 reported in 2018, costing victims a huge AUD 489 million (approx. USD 344 million).
The figure alarmed many of the government agencies responsible for taking in scam reports over the year due to an increase of 41.7% over the previous year 2017, although it is unlikely that the figures represent the actual extent to which Australian consumers have been duped. “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,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
In terms of cryptocurrency scams, there were 674 reported in 2018; a 190% increase compared to the AUD 2.1 million reported to Scamwatch in 2017. The most heavily used scams were those based on cryptocurrency investments which represented over double all cryptocurrency scams combined. However, the ACCC report indicated that the rising occurrence of scams concerning crypto had risen in tandem with the rising popularity of cryptocurrency in general since 2017.
In general, hacking scams featured high on the list of consumers losses with a 49% increase in reports, and shopping scams appeared to be becoming more popular with scammers, targeting consumers with shoes, Apple and Samsung phones, puppies, and cars as a means to duping them and relieving them of their money.
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