Cryptocurrency scams took over AU$6m from Australians in 2018: ACCC

Nearly half a billion {dollars} have been misplaced by Australians resulting from scams in 2018, based on an Australian Competitors and Client Fee (ACCC) report launched on Monday.

The report said that the ACCC-controlled Scamwatch and different authorities companies acquired over 378,000 rip-off reviews in 2018, with the overall mixed losses from scams exceeding AU$489 million — AU$149 million greater than the 12 months prior, up 41.7% 12 months on 12 months.

“These record losses are likely just the tip of the iceberg. We know that not everyone who suffers a loss to a scammer reports it to a government agency,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard mentioned.

Of that whole reported quantity, AU$107 million was reported to Scamwatch. 

In 2018, Scamwatch acquired 177,516 rip-off reviews, which is a 10% improve from the 161,528 scams reported in 2017, and a 94% improve in comparison with 2013. The will increase are a mirrored image of a rising rip-off drawback in addition to a greater consciousness by Australians of the place to report scams, the ACCC mentioned.

Hacking scams accounted for 8,625 of the rip-off reviews acquired by Scamwatch in 2018, and over AU$3.1 million price of reported losses. In comparison with 2017, this was a 49.8% improve 12 months on 12 months within the quantity of hacking rip-off reviews acquired by Scamwatch.

In the meantime, on-line purchasing scams and ransomware accounted for 9,691 and 4,356 Scamwatch reviews, respectively. These two classes resulted in AU$3.Three million and AU$151,000 of reported losses, respectively. In response to Scamwatch, widespread objects Australians are attempting to purchase from scammers embrace sneakers, Apple and Samsung telephones, puppies, and automobiles.

There was additionally a big uptick within the quantity of cryptocurrency scams in 2018, with 674 reviews and AU$6.1 million in reported losses, a 190% improve in comparison with the AU$2.1 million reported to Scamwatch in 2017. The rip-off class with the very best reported losses to cryptocurrencies was “investment scams”, with AU$2.6 million in reported losses.

Within the 2017 iteration of the identical ACCC report, the watchdog mentioned the affect of cryptocurrency-related scams had grown in parallel with the burgeoning “value” and recognition of cryptocurrency through the fourth quarter of 2017.

This 12 months’s ACCC report additionally mentioned telephones have been the commonest technique scammers used to contact victims, accounting for 46.9% of Scamwatch’s reviews; adopted by emails, at 23.2%; textual content messages, at 14.4%; and social media, which was utilized in 3.8% of scams reported.

There was a rise of scammers using automation in phone communications, the ACCC mentioned, which resulted in tens of hundreds of cellphone calls and voice messages with nearly all of these communications being ATO impersonation and Chinese language authority scams.

“Scammers are adapting old scams to new technology, seeking payment through unusual methods, and automating scam calls to increase their reach to potential victims,” Rickard mentioned.

Individuals aged between 55 and 64 have been essentially the most liable to dropping cash from scams in comparison with another age group, reporting whole losses of AU$24.Eight million.

For companies, there have been 5,846 scams reported to Scamwatch and AU$7.2 million in reported losses, leading to an 8% improve within the quantity of reviews and a 58% improve within the quantity of losses reported 12 months on 12 months. Micro to medium-sized companies have been the first victims of scams, accounting for over 90% of the reported losses in 2018, which was round AU$6.Three million.

Hacking scams focused at companies resulted in round AU$800,000 in reported losses and 304 reviews despatched to Scamwatch.

On the identical time, enterprise e-mail compromise losses reported to Scamwatch in 2018 exceeded $3.Eight million. When mixed with reviews to ACORN, losses to enterprise e-mail compromise scams exceeded $60 million. This can be a 170% improve over the mixed losses of $22.1 million reported in 2017.

“The ACCC has been working with banks, financial intermediaries, and online classified sites to disrupt scams, but this year we, along with the ACMA and ACSC, would also like to see social media platforms and telecommunications providers doing more to limit the ability of scammers to connect with victims,” she mentioned.  

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