More than 1200 Australians have lost over AUD 1.2 million to various Bitcoin scams in 2017, show figures from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch, quoted by ABC.
The precise number are 1,289 complaints related to Bitcoin in 2017, with reported losses totalling $1,218,206. Most likely the numbers and sums are actually higher, as those are only the official complaints.
Only in November of 2017, the number of bitcoin scams rose 126% in a week, along with the then rising prices of cryptocurrencies, shows data of ACCC.
The types of scams can vary – they can be either some sort of investment scams, a ponzi scheme type of fraud or a simple phishing scam using the buzzword “bitcoin”, along with other popular terms and brands. Another Australian news outlet – The New Daily, for example, quotes a woman who has been on the receiving end of scam texts.
“The messages are generally of two types: trying to convince the receiver they have won a voucher for either Coles or Woolworths, or trying to entice the receiver to collect some Bitcoins,” she told the news outlet. According to the media, the majority of of these scammers are from overseas, largely from Western Africa, India and Turkey. Blocking their numbers is useless, as they use different numbers to flood their potential victims with texts.
From this April the cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia must be monitored by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) for extra safety, but there are yet no other regulatory requirements.