Investment scams have been the most common type in Australia recently, a new report from the country’s consumer watchdog has revealed. And while a growing number of Australians fall prey to fraudulent schemes involving cryptocurrency, bank transfers remain the preferred method of scammers to withdraw money.
Australians lose $670 million a year from scammers, including $75 million via bank transfer
Residents of Australia have lost A$851 million (about $670 million) in more than 444,000 reported scam cases in 2020, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced in its latest targeting scam. report good Published on Monday.
The review compiles from the commission’s own data scamwatch The website, Cyber Security Center of Australia reports Cyber, other government agencies, and about a dozen banks and financial intermediaries. ACCC Vice President Delia Ricard commented:
Last year, scam victims reported the biggest losses we’ve ever seen, but even worse, we expect the actual losses to be even greater, as many people don’t report these scams.
The agency has recorded mounting financial losses in investment scams in 2020, with the total figure reaching a record-high of $328 million Australian dollars ($254 million). Scamwatch reported losses rose 63% to 7,295 and losses increased to 66 million Australian dollars, or more than $51 million. About 34% of people who reported investment scams lost money. The average loss was $26,713 Australian dollars, or about $20,000.
Bank transfers remain the most common payment method used by scammers, with more than A$97 million ($75 million) lost through such transfers, a 40% increase from the previous year. According to the ACCC, bitcoin (B T c) was the second largest payment method with losses of $26.5 million, or a little over $20.5 million. Adding these to the “other payments” category, which includes cryptocurrencies like Ethereum (ETH) and apps like Zelle or Skrill, bringing in $50 million Australian dollars (about $39 million) in total.
‘Romance baiting’ scam lures young Australians to fraudulent crypto investment schemes
Despite still lagging behind traditional payment methods, bitcoin and other crypto payments are becoming more common. “The perceived anonymity of unregulated cryptocurrencies may hinder the ability to recover funds or identify scammers. It is likely that we will see an increase in the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the coming years,” comments the ACCC report.
Amid the ongoing COVID crisis, health and medical scams increased more than 20 times last year compared to 2019, causing more than A$3.9 million Australian dollars ($3 million) in damages. But in 2020, Scamwatch identified a new type of scam, which it refers to as “romance baiting”, often associated with crypto payments. Criminals are targeting social groups that have not suffered heavy losses before.
Victims are typically contacted on a dating app, redirected elsewhere and embroiled in an investment scam involving cryptocurrency, the ACCC explained. Young Australians aged 25 to 34 have lost the most money to romance lures in the past year – $7.3 million Australian dollars ($5.66 million). In total, citizens filed 414 reports of such scams, with damages reaching A$15.4 million (about A$12 million). The commission stated that crypto scams are by far the most common in this genre (57%).
Other scams targeting potential crypto investors employ fake celebrities of advertising. The face, name, and personal features of a well-known public figure are commonly used to sell a product or service. This product may be related to health or may be linked to an investment strategy that encourages people to invest in various cryptocurrency schemes. The report pointed out that victims are given the opportunity to collect high returns in a short period of time from a trading or investment platform that suddenly disappears.
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