Crypto Scammers Steal $150M from Australians in 2022 – Scam Reports Increase by 162%

In the Brief:

  • Australia had a 162% increase in cryptocurrency scams and the loss in 2022 amounted to nearly $150 million
  • The average victim lost $37,900 from 3,910 total reports made
  • Bank transfer scams are the largest payment method
  • Investment scams commonly use imposter bond offers and celebrity endorsements
  • 30% of victims do not report losses

3 - 6 minute read

Australian crypto scams have increased by over 162%, amounting to nearly $150M lost in 2022 as reported by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the country’s consumer regulator. According to the scam activity report, there were a total of 3,910 crypto scam incident reports made, with the average Australian victim losing $37,900. This increase in crypto scams has partially been attributed to new technologies that make it easier to ‘lure and deceive victims’ with increasingly sophisticated tactics. ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe has emphasized that the ‘true cost’ of these damages is emotional distress caused to the victims, their families, and businesses. The Australian government, law enforcement and the private sector need to work collaboratively to combat these scams more effectively and bring the numbers down.

The ACCC scam activity report reveals that bank transfer payment scams remain the largest scam payment method, with nearly 13,100 reports totaling $141 million – $7.3 million less than crypto payments, averaging out at around $10,700 per scam incident. This means that crypto scammers swindled a value of 250% more than bank transfer scammers, making social media and networking apps the most common contact spots for crypto scammers.

Imposter bond offers, initial public offerings (IPO), relationship or pig butchering schemes and money recovery services are among the most common investment scams. According to data from the Scamwatch database, the average investment scam victim is a 65-year-old man that will be contacted on social media or respond to a fraudulent advertisement. These victims will likely be tied up in the swindle for “several months” before realizing they’ve been scammed.

Even though the figures are alarming, it is essential to acknowledge that scam losses are far higher than reported as around 30% of scam victims do not report it to anyone, while only 13% of victims report the incidents to Scamwatch. ACCC’s Scamwatch, ReportCyber, the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX) and other agencies compiled data for the report. The onus is on regulators to urge investors to conduct their due diligence before investing in questionable cryptocurrency schemes and to increase the level of security and protection for crypto investors.

The modern age has witnessed an increase in the use of technology, leading to an increase in scams, which makes it essential for investors to be aware of the warning signs of crypto scams. The ACCC report has disclosed the ten signs to look out for when dealing with crypto scams. These include getting-rich-quick schemes, unrealistic returns, scams linked to celebrity endorsements, cold calling, and the obligation to act fast, to name a few.

The Bottom Line

The ACCC report presents an alarming increased rate of cryptocurrency scams of 162% in Australia. Crypto scams have been attributed to the use of modern technology, making it easier to lure and deceive victims with increasingly sophisticated tactics. The Australian government, law enforcement and the private sector need to strengthen ties to combat these scams more effectively and bring the numbers down. As the rate of cryptocurrency scams has increased dramatically, it’s imperative for investors to be aware of the warning signs of crypto scams and practice due diligence before investing in questionable cryptocurrency schemes.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered as financial or trading advice. We are not financial advisors, and trading carries high risk. Always consult a professional financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

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