Australian consumers lost approximately $2.1 mln to cryptocurrency scams last year, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) annual scams report published May 21.
The ACCC’s analysis reveals that the use of digital currencies as a payment method in scams peaked in the last quarter of 2017. Almost $100,000 was reported lost per month to cryptocurrency-based scams from January to September, while in December, reported losses exceeded $700,000. The average reported loss in December had soared to $13,205 from $1,885 in January.
The ACCC indicated that the figure was influenced by the surging value of cryptocurrencies at the end of the year, saying “as the value of actual cryptocurrencies increased, so too did the scam losses in what people thought were real investments.” Still, the $2.1 mln in total losses was regarded to be conservative, as “with other scams, this is likely the very tip of the iceberg,” the report said.