Last year, Australians filed 1,810 complaints about cryptocurrency scams. Crimes related to crypto assets have caused a total of $14.9 million in damage to the country’s citizens.
According to a study by Scamwatch, a division of the Australian competition and consumer Commission (ACCC), young Australians aged 25 to 34 were the most likely victims of cryptocurrency scams.
“Cloud mining farms were most often involved in cryptocurrency fraud scenarios. Most of them were pyramids, ” the report says.
Researchers describe cloud cryptocurrency mining as “an incredibly resource-intensive activity” that relies on powerful computing systems to mine coins. This is the concept that scammers build their deception on, for example, by offering to invest in non-existent server space.
The report shows a sharp increase in total losses from various types of fraud from $234 million in 2017 to $437 million in 2019. Among the examples of major cryptocurrency scams, researchers mention the international pyramid scheme USI Tech, which became popular in Australia last year.
Scamwatch received more than 200 complaints from USI Tech investors – in total, the pyramid scheme caused $2.2 million in damage to Australians. Victims transferred BTC to the organizers in the hope of making a huge profit. USI Tech is now known as one of the “largest cryptocurrency scams in the world”.
Last year, the ACCC reported that Australians lost more than $6 million in cryptocurrency fraud in 2018, while a year earlier, cryptocurrency fraudsters caused $2 million in damage to the country’s citizens.