According to the annual scams report released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australians have lost around $2.1 million to cryptocurrency-related scams in 2017.
The report revealed that the use of cryptocurrencies in scams had peaked in Q4 of 2017. Monthly losses in Q1-Q3, from January to September almost reached $100,000 with an average reported loss of $1,885. In December, however, losses have exceeded $700,000 with the average reported loss skyrocketing to $13,205!
The ACCC found that fake initial coin offerings (ICOs), pyramid schemes, and ransomware payments were among the top cryptocurrency scams played out:
“A number of reports showed that victims entered into cryptocurrency-based scams through friends and family who convinced them they were onto a good thing, a classic element of pyramid schemes.”
The commission also pointed out that as the value of cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin, had increased tremendously by December of last year, so did the value of losses.
The $2.1 million total loss value is even considered to be a conservative figure as the commission notes that as “with other scams, this is likely the very tip of the iceberg.”