Australians are increasingly coming under fire from crypto scammers, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) latest data revealed.
According to the watchdog, there have been 30 reports of emerging scams between June and November in 2021 and some AU$374,000 has been lost this way.
Most scams are conducted through fake apps which are set up by fraudsters and used to syphon off money from people who believe they are invested in what is usually a high-yield asset.
However, most of those turn out to be “rug pulls” whereby investors’ money disappears and the asset they invest in hits near-zero.
The actual numbers of such scams are harder to determine, the ACCC estimates. One of the reasons for that is people refuse to report them.
Only 13% of the people who become victims of such scams are inclined to make a formal report, the watchdog estimates. Even sophisticated and smart investors are getting burned on those scams.
In a report, ABC Australia reported the case of Paul, an engineer from Canberra, who admitted to having lost $5,000 on a similar scam.
“I’m not a novice with computers or online safety – I do all my banking online and I’m paranoid about security – but I didn’t fully understand crypto at the time”, Paul admitted to the media outlet.
Others have reported similar encounters whereby they would invest in new apps and will see their digital holdings disappear.
“It completely emptied my wallet”, another person interviewed by ABC said. The prevalence of crypto scams in Australia has been noticeable in the recent years.
While the ACCC has focused on specific type of scams, there have been broader reasons for concern.
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) issued an urgent alert of cryptocurrency scams just a week ago, cautioning consumers to not respond to scammers who are trying to collect consumer data under a pretext that the regulator is investigating “crypto tax evaders”.
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