A total number of 444,000 cases were reported as crypto scams in 2020.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch recently conducted a research about the effects of digital currency, or cryptocurrency to Australians. Turns out, the number of getting scammed through this medium have reached almost 500,000, in the past year alone. Here’s the complete report of the survey.
Australia’s crypto scams
Cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, has been one of the most controversial digital currency all over the world. Despite this, a lot of people still invest on digital wallet due to its promised higher profits than banks, or sometimes stock market. But, there’s a catch behind it. And that’s what Scamwatch found out about recently.
In Australia, in the year 2020 alone, a total losses of an exact amount of $658 million were reported. This happened with over 444,000 cases, divided by individuals and groups.
According to the report, Australians with age over 65 are the ones with the highest amount of losses through cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, people with ages 25 to 34-year old have the most reports of crypto scams for the past year.
Where do they get scammed?
As explained in the report, online scammers have different tactics to allow the crypto user, or non-user, to get or even invest their money. The highest-earning way for scammers to get cryptos is through investment schemes. Turns out, a lot of Australians find digital currency as a good way to invest their money, resulting in almost $70 million in losses, in total.
Here’s the quick rundown of all the different mediums used by hackers in crypto scamming:
- Lottery scams/ prizes – $1.7 million
- Identity theft – $3.1 million
- Health and medical products – $3.9 million
- Classified scams – $5.5 million
- Online shopping scams – $7.4 million
- Remote access scams – $8.4 million
- Threats to life or company – $11.8 million
- False billing – $18.5 million
- Dating and romance scams – $38.9 million
- Investment scams – $65.8 million
“This 138% increase in reporting was primarily in relation to romance scams, but also included investment scams where scammers encouraged victims to invest in cryptocurrencies,” the reported added.
Is it safe to use crypto?
One of the things that crypto is identified as is volatile. Whether you’ve been scammed or not, there are still possible ways for you to end up losing your money through cryptocurrencies. However, securing your digital wallet is still an important thing to remember.
According to security research website Kaspersky, “cryptocurrencies are usually built using blockchain technology.” These blockchain technology have their own ‘blocks’ which are time-stamped. All accounts have their unique codes which allows the system to identify whether the specific coin was already spent in an establishment or not.
In conclusion, investing on cryptocurrencies can be a safe way to earn money. However, you must make sure to keep it safe and never share your log-in or ID wallet to anyone.
Recently, CNBC reported that El Salvador becomes the first country in the world to fully adopt bitcoin as a legal tender. This was good for Bitcoin, or cryptocurrencies in general, since the objective mainly is for more people to use the digital wallet.
“What’s transformative here is that bitcoin is both the greatest reserve asset ever created and a superior monetary network. Holding bitcoin provides a way to protect developing economies from potential shocks of fiat currency inflation,” said Jack Mallers, founder of the Lightning Network payments platform Strike.
Common Scams and How To Avoid Them
If you don’t want to be fooled just like these Australians, here’s how you can avoid the four common crypto scams that are circulating the internet;
Fake Mobile Apps
Fake Mobile App is one of the most common crypto scams that you can encounter. Security experts claimed that these malicious apps are usually attacking Android users. To avoid it, you must review the app’s details such as its published date, reviews, and the number of downloads. If the application doesn’t have many reviews and was just published recently, it is highly suggested not to use it for your cryptocurrency transactions.
Aside from the fake mobile app, crypto scamming emails are also becoming more rampant. These email messages usually offer a financing assistant when it comes to crypto. Once you open it, you will be given a malicious link. Experts suggested that cryptocurrency fans should avoid clicking unknown links from random email messages. If you want to have financial aid, the best thing you can do is research about it and contact those with document proofs.
Social Media Impostors
Right now, various social media platforms are being used to spread crypto advice. However, most of these influencers are believed to have some involvement when it comes to crypto scams. But, there are still some streamers who have degrees when it comes to financing and other related expertise. All you need to do is check their background and look for people who are already following them without issues.
Aside from the mentioned crypto scams, imposter or fake websites are also common. They usually copy Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and other popular, as well as rising digital currencies. The best way to identify a fake website is by checking its URL. An imposter website usually redirects you to another page. Once that happens, there’s a high chance that it is not legit. If you want to check if a page is real, all you need to is type the URL manually. If your browser states that there is an error, then that’s definitely a crypto scam website.