In support of Scams Awareness Week, ASIC is warning consumers of the key signs of a crypto scam and advising them what to do if they’ve been scammed.
Crypto scams fall into three broad categories, including:
scams where you think you’re investing in a genuine asset but it’s a fake crypto exchange, website, or app;
fake crypto tokens (used to steal your crypto assets), and jobs trading crypto that look legitimate at first glance (but are really money laundering using crypto); or
scams that use crypto-assets to make a payment.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said, ‘Australians lost more than $701 million to investment scams in 2021, up 135% from the previous year and these scams are continuing to increase. The main driver of the increase was cryptocurrency investment scams, where losses increased by 270%. The ACCC has advised that losses to crypto scams have increased further in 2022.
‘Given this concerning trend, we want to arm Australians with the information they need to protect themselves from scammers,’ said Ms. Court.
According to ASIC’s investigators, the top–10 signs of a likely crypto scam are:
You receive an offer out of the blue
You see a celebrity advertisement that is actually a fake
A romantic partner you only know online asks for money in crypto
You get pressured into transferring crypto from your currency exchange to another website
You’re asked to pay for a financial service with crypto
The app you’re using or directed to isn’t listed on the Google Play Store or Apple Store
You need to pay more to access your money
You are ‘guaranteed’ returns, or free money
Strange tokens appear in your digital wallet
The provider withholds investment earnings ‘for tax purposes
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said ‘If you think you’ve been the victim of a crypto scam, it’s important to act quickly. Draw a line under it. Don’t send any more money. Block all contact from the scammer.
‘Do not delay. Contact your bank or financial institution immediately to report the scam. Ask them to stop any transactions. Also, warn your family and friends so they can watch out for potential follow-up scams.
‘When Australians fall victim to scams the cost is often more than purely financial. Scams cause emotional stress and can impact relationships’, said Ms. Court.
To understand more about crypto scams, see ASIC’s Moneysmart website. For the latest scam information, visit scamwatch.gov.au.
For crisis support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
For emotional support contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.