Cryptocurrencies have become a lot more appealing to the masses over the past few years. With so many new people entering this ecosystem, criminals will try to exploit any and all flaws and weaknesses for some time to come. A new report shows that Australians lost AUD$2.1 million to cryptocurrency scams in 2017.
Cryptocurrency Scams Remain a Problem
Anyone who has kept a close eye on the cryptocurrency industry over the years will be all too familiar with the numerous types of scams out there. This has become a very annoying and troublesome trend, and it seems things are not improving whatsoever. A new report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission indicates that 2017 was a good year for cryptocurrency scammers.
For Australian consumers, on the other hand, 2017 wasn’t the best of years. With AUD$2.1 million having been lost to cryptocurrency scams last year, it’s apparent there are still a lot of problems to sort out. The report also touched upon the problem of ransomware, which was seemingly less prevalent in 2017 compared to previous years. Even so, a lot of victims have paid Bitcoin ransoms out of sheer panic over potentially losing sensitive data.
It is not entirely surprising that the number of cryptocurrency scams rose significantly in late 2017. At that time, the value of Bitcoin and a lot of altcoins exploded. As such, a lot of consumers decided to enter the ecosystem, which exposed most of them to potential scams and illicit investment programs. Scammers and other criminals are constantly coming up with new ways to make an impact in this regard.
During the first nine months of 2017, around AUD$100,000 worth of cryptocurrency was lost, stolen, or hacked per month. That is a rather high amount, although it is lower than in prior years. In December alone, however, a total of AUD$700,000 was lost to scams affecting cryptocurrency users.
The ACCC report also included a few interesting examples of scams that proved particularly successful. As one would expect, fake initial coin offerings topped the list, followed by pyramid schemes and fake exchanges. Nothing out of the ordinary here, as all of these activities are taking place around the world as well.
The bigger question is how the ACCC and the Australian government will address these problems moving forward. Reports like these give cryptocurrency an even worse name than it has already, even though the technology itself is not at fault if people don’t fully understand how it works. Even so, the number of reports related to cryptocurrency scams is increasing rapidly, which is anything but a positive development.