Cryptocurrency investment scams in Australia cost victims a record $14.76 million between January and July this year.
That’s according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The commission states that many of these fraudulent operations leverage social media platforms, fake celebrity endorsements, or online trading platforms that are made to look legitimate in an attempt to attract prospective investors.
In a statement promoting a scheme seeking to raise awareness about fraudulent activity in the country, ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard urged citizens to learn about modern scams to stay protected.
“People need to update their idea of what a scam is so that we are less vulnerable. Scammers are professional businesses dedicated to ripping us off. They have call centers with convincing scripts, staff training programs, and corporate performance indicators their ‘employees’ need to meet,” Rickard added.
This latest figure comes after the ACCC said in April that fraudsters had netted $4.3 million in cryptocurrency scams last year, representing a significant increase of 190 percent when compared to 2017.
On a global level, a report by CipherTrace, a company developing cryptocurrency and blockchain tracing and security capabilities, found that cryptocurrency scammers have swindled a staggering $4.26 billion so far this year.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are volatile by nature, and their upward price movements often trigger interest from scammers, who seek to capitalize on the rising price to entice investors with typically unrealistic returns.
My advice? Be skeptical. Beware of any internet ads, celebrity endorsements or “unmissable opportunities” and more importantly, do your homework. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
You wouldn’t give a stranger on the street a wad of cash without any questions asked, well, investing in cryptocurrency shouldn’t be any different.
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Readers are advised to do their own research before investing in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.