ACCC Report Reveals Amount Lost to Crypto Scams in Australia
The annual scams report published by The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has disclosed the amount of money lost to crypto scams in Australia last year. According to the official report, Australian consumers lost roughly $2.1 million last year to cryptocurrency-based scams.
The ACCC’s analysis report also reveals that cryptocurrency-based scams peaked in the last quarter of the year. Roughly about $100,000 was reportedly lost each month to such scams, from January to September, and in the last quarter reported losses soared to $700,000. Moreover, the average loss reported in December last year was $13,205, about seven times the average reported in January 2017.
The ACCC has highlighted fraudulent ICOs, pyramid schemes, and ransomware payments as some of the major means of deceiving users. The ACCC added:
“… instead of people discovering how to directly buy cryptocurrencies, many found themselves caught up in what were essentially pyramid schemes. A number of reports showed that victims entered into cryptocurrency-based scams through friends and family who convinced them they were onto a good thing, a classic element of pyramid schemes.”
The report indicated that the exponential increase in the value of cryptocurrencies in the last quarter prompted people to invest more in cryptocurrency, which increased the overall chance of losing money to such scams. Still, $2.1 million is not much, compared to what the consumers lost to other more common types of scams.
Earlier in May, ASIC (Australia’s Securities and Investments Commission) said that it was ready to take actions to protect Australian consumers from such scams in the ICO space. ASIC was given the authority to intervene where it found any ICO using false claims to mislead potential investors, or providing financial products without a proper license. ASIC has repeatedly warned the investors against investing in ICOs and blockchain startups engaging in the unlicensed conduct.