As the price of Bitcoin et al increased, so did the money amount of money grabbed by criminals in Australia.
As part of the The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) annual report on report on scams, the latest of which covers 2017, it has been revealed that something in the region of AUS$2.1m was lost to crypto-related scams in the country. This was indicative of a general rise in nefarious activity surround digital currencies, driven it would seem by the big increased in value of Bitcoin et al during the year – with around $100,000 lost per month between Jan-Sept, which then ramped up with prices to around $700,000 of reported losses in December. Though the average reported loss rose from just under $2,000 in January to over $13,000 by year’s end, it is though that this is only a relatively small slice of the real picture, due to the amount of fraud that is never reported.
Not all of that amount was related to investment-related activity, however. While reports of dodgy ICOs are part of the statistics, that number also includes common crypto-centric crimes such as ransomware that demands payment to unlock a victim’s computer or network.
According to Finance Feeds, this was all part of a 8% increase in financial fraud across the broad range of activities that entails, with $90.9 million in losses racked up across 161,500 incidents. In the US, the SEC has just gone to some interesting lengths to inform American citizens of the dangers of investing in ICOs they know little-or-nothing about, maybe our Australian friends should consider something similar?