Consumer Affairs Victoria has been flooded with reports of people falling victim to fraudulent Bitcoin scams.
Investment Scams Down Under
Australia is a hotbed for Bitcoin scams.
According to Consumer Affairs Victoria, a unit of the Department of Justice and Regulation, Bitcoin oriented fraud continues to wreak havoc on investors.
Most reports center around victims losing their cryptocurrency through fake Bitcoin websites. The average loss per victim is roughly $300.
For the month of January 2018 alone, $10,692,438 have been scammed out of Australians, primarily by way of Ponzi or pyramid schemes. In fact, $4.63 million was lost that month from investment schemes – up from $2.9 million the month before, and up from $1.7 million 12 months prior.
These reports come after Australian regulators – specifically the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) – already warned investors on the continent last October about Bitcoin and Ethereum focused scams.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has also noted a large number of reports regarding cryptocurrency fraud.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of the reports come from individuals aged 25-34. However, the largest amount of assets stolen comes out of the digital wallet of individuals between the ages of 45-54. Elderly people, on the other hand, have proven less likely to lose their Bitcoin — since they probably don’t own any, to begin with.
ACCC also reports that, in general, losses related to investment scams are up overall. In 2o17, Australians lost more than $31.15 million, which is 32% more than 2016.
At least those unfortunate Australians who’ve been scammed out of their Bitcoin or Ethereum can now buy both at almost any newsstand on the continent.
On March 1, more than 1,200 newsstands started offering Bitcoin and Ethereum purchases.
Purchases from said newsstands aren’t exactly cheap, however. Any cryptocurrency purchase from a participating newsstand carries a rather hefty 5 percent fee. Bitcoin.com.au CEO Rupert Hackett claims the fee is worth it, however, telling 9Finance:
The fact that you can now buy Bitcoin and Ethereum from the same place you purchase soft drinks and stationery really speaks to how institutionalised cryptocurrency has become. For anyone who has hesitated about buying Bitcoin because it all seemed too complicated, this is the perfect setup that takes the fear factor out of investing in digital currencies.
Hopefully, those buying Bitcoin from newsstands are wise enough to keep it secure this year.
Are you surprised to learn that Australia is a hotbed for Bitcoin and Ethereum scams? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Wikipedia Commons, Shutterstock
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