As cryptocurrency grows in use and the people around the world become more aware about digital assets, the prevalence of fraudulent behavior and scams surrounding Bitcoin and altcoins has grown as well.
In Australia, crypto scams have grown to the point where governmental bodies and watchdogs have been compelled to warn Australian citizens about the increasing dangers they may encounter in the cryptocurrency world.
“Cryptocurrency trading scams have grown significantly in the past 12 months and are now the second most common type of investment scam offer pushed on victims,” According to Scamwatch, a consumer service run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or theACCC.
The Deputy Chair of the ACCC, Delia Rickard says that Australians lost nearly 65 million dollars to cryptocurrency related scams in 2017.
With crypto still in its developmental stages, the ACCC fears this number will be over 100 million in 2018 and continue to grow in coming years as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies gain traction.
The ACCC warns that scams will become more sophisticated as the cryptocurrency community gets larger.
“The rise in popularity in cryptocurrency trading has not been missed by scammers who are latching onto this new trend to con people. These are similar to any other investment scam: the scammer will claim to have inside knowledge about price movements they will use to make you a fortune. If you invest, your money will quickly disappear,” Deputy Chair Rickard warns.
Furthermore, according to Delia Rickard the most vulnerable to these crimes are Australia’s older citizens.
People aged 45-64 make up more than half of the reports of monetary loss to the ACCC.
Financial officials in Australia have warned citizens to be wary of “risk-free” investments and to think twice about handing money over to people making claims of huge million dollar gains in short periods of time.
Australia is encouraging their citizens to visit the website MoneySmart.gov.au to educate themselves on not only cryptocurrency, but to build an overall understanding of the financial risks involved in investing.
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