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Investors in Australia have already lost $81.5 million in crypto scams and $148 million overall, including several other investment scams.
Australia has already seen AUD 113 million ($81.5 million) lost to crypto scams in the first four months of 2022. A recent report published by consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), covered the period between January 1st and May 1st.
The ACCC specified that most of the reported losses were investment scams that increased by 314% compared to the same period last year. In addition, ACCC also gave the overall scam sum (including non-crypto scams) within the same period as $148 million. Speaking on the scam, ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said:
“Australians should be very wary of anyone asking them to invest in or transfer money using cryptocurrency, especially if it’s someone you have only met online.”
Furthermore, Rickard also added that the relative naivete of many consumers concerning crypto matters made them more vulnerable to scams. The ACCC Deputy Chair also touched on the broader investment term, urging Australians to be more alert with their money.
“We are seeing more money lost to investment scams and so are urging all Australians not to trust investment opportunities that seem too good to be true,” said she.
Other Details on ACCC Report
The ACCC believes that the actual scale of losses to investment shams is likely higher than reported. According to the agency, this is because only around 13% of people report their losses. However, the ACCC also explained that although there is a slight reduction in reported numbers, the reported amount of losses is conversely higher. With this, the Commission concludes that people reported higher individual losses on average.
The ACCC had reported earlier this year that the growing popularity of crypto may contribute to a significant investment scam increase. At the time, the Commission’s chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb stated:
“We see a number of scams relating to investment schemes, and we are now seeing that the payments in relation to those are now more often by way of cryptocurrency than by way of bank transfer.”
Report on Crypto Scams in Australia Follows Latest US Report
The Australian consumer watchdog’s latest report on crypto and investment scam numbers follows a similar report from the US. On June 5th, it was also reported by the US Federal Trade Commission that more than 46,000 Americans lost over $1 billion combined in crypto-related scams. In addition, the time period also given by the FTC is from the beginning of last year till date.
The median individual loss reported in the US was about $2,600, while victims in their 70s lost approximately $12,000. Furthermore, there was also a noticeable increase in the reported figures between last year and this year so far. The FTC stated that 2021’s loss was approximately $680 million, while this year is already up $329 million. This development may indicate that 2022’s losses will be much higher.