Scammers from the land down under managed to scoop a whopping $4.3 million from victims during 2018, a recent report suggests. The figure is up a bone chilling 190% from the statistics presented for 2017, suggesting that scammers are coming out in force to catch the newcomers to the crypto world. Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise that the figure is so high, as millions of people piled into crypto markets following the crazy all-time highs in 2017. Many of these new investors are untrained in the crypto world and therefore fell prey to sneaky scammers.
Online Scams Rising
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) pointed out that it had received 674 complaints about online scams that requested payment in cryptocurrencies. Ransom made up a large percentage of these reports, as users were forced to pay Bitcoin to hackers in order to decrypt their files and recover usage of their computers. Worryingly, the BlackRouter crypto ransomware is back in 2019 and it’s more powerful than ever.
Australia Becoming a Crypto Haven
Australia has become a rather popular place for crypto enthusiasts. Earlie this year, the Australian government announced a blockchain roadmap for the country. This came on the back of the launch of the world’s first bond issue completely controlled by blockchain technology. Properties have been auctioned for Bitcoin and women have been imprisoned for stealing vast amounts of crypto. It’s all going on in the Australian crypto world – both the good and bad sides of crypto.
A Fake Bitcoin ATM
That’s right, one of the biggest scams in Australia during 2018 was in fact a fake Bitcoin ATM. The ATM touted the ability to let users buy Bitcoin and send it to their wallet. However, the ATM took the money and then routed the money to the scammer’s wallet. The ATM stole thousands of dollars from unsuspecting victims before it was eventually removed by local authorities. Due to the fact transactions require confirmations, people presumed it was just taking a while for the confirmations to go through, allowing it to last so long.
Australia might be experiencing a crypto boom, but with a boom comes the opportunity for scammers to steal. As the country pushed ahead with mass adoption, more and more scammers will attempt to flood the scene. It’s up to the Australian regulators to deploy stringent regulations to prevent scammers from being able to operate in the Australian market.