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Australian Crypto Scams Increased by Over 162% With Nearly $150M Lost

In 2022, Australians lost 221.3 million Australian dollars ($148.3 million) as a result of investment scams in which bitcoin was utilized as a payment method, a 162.4% rise over 2021. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)’s April 17 scam activity report, 3,910 crypto scam event reports were submitted in total, with the average Australian victim losing AU$56,600 ($37,900).

The number of $148.3 million is 7.1% of the total AU$3.1 billion ($2.08 billion) in scams recorded in Australia in 2022. With roughly 13,100 reports totalling $141 million — $7.3 million less than crypto payments — bank transfers remained the most common fraud payment method. Bank transfer payment frauds averaged roughly AU$16,000 ($10,700) per event, implying that crypto criminals may extort 250% more value from each victim.

According to data, crypto fraudsters primarily contacted victims using social media and networking applications, whereas bank payment scammers primarily contacted victims via phone and email. ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said in an April 17 statement that new technologies are making it easier to “lure and deceive victims” with increasingly “sophisticated” tactics:

“Alarming new tactics have emerged, making scams extremely difficult to detect.” This covers anything from imitating reputable businesses’ official phone numbers, email addresses, and websites to scam SMS that appear in the same chat thread as genuine ones.”

“This means that anyone, now more than ever, can fall victim to a scam,” she continued.

While the statistics are “alarming,” Lowe stressed that the “true cost” of the harm has yet to be calculated: “Australians lost more money to scams than ever before in 2022, but the true cost of scams is much more than a dollar figure because they also cause emotional distress to victims, their families, and businesses.”

Lowe stated that the Australian government, law enforcement, and the commercial sector must enhance links in order to “combat” the scams more effectively and reduce the number of victims. The typical investment scam victim in Australia is a 65-year-old male who was approached on social media or replied to a fake advertising, according to statistics from the ACCC scam database Scamwatch.

They will most likely be involved in the fraud for “several months” before understanding they have been duped. Among the most typical investment frauds recorded are imposter bond offers, initial public offerings (IPO), relationship or pig butchering schemes, and money recovery services. According to the ACCC, scam losses “are far higher” than recorded since around 30% of scam victims do not report the occurrence to anybody, while only 13% report the incident to Scamwatch.

Data for the study was gathered by the ACCC’s Scamwatch, ReportCyber, the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX), and other organizations.

 

Crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions. Crypto is not a legal tender and is subject to market risks. Readers are advised to seek expert advice and read offer document(s) along with related important literature on the subject carefully before making any kind of investment whatsoever. Crypto market predictions are speculative and any investment made shall be at the sole cost and risk of the readers.