- Australians lost $851 million to scammers in 2020
- Scammers used the COVID-19 situation to exploit their victims
- Bitcoin scams amounted to $26.6 million worth of losses
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) reported $851 million worth of losses to scammers in 2020. According to the ACCC, there were 1,985 reports of Bitcoin scams which resulted in $26.6 million in losses.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard mentioned that the scammers were very quick to take advantage of the COVID-19 situation to exploit their victims. While everyone was going through emotional and financial vulnerabilities, the scammers swooped in with various methods to prey on victims.
One of the scams that are rising in popularity is Bitcoin-related scams. While cryptocurrency logs everything in the blockchain, the anonymity factor is becoming a troublesome issue. According to the ACCC,
The perceived anonymity of unregulated cryptocurrencies can impede the ability to recover funds or identify scammers.
The ACCC also noted that “It is likely that we will see increased use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the years to come.”
Another scam method that is rising in popularity is the celebrity endorsement scam. According to the ACCC, scammers utilized the names and photos of Australian celebrities in order to perform social media advertisements designed to scam people.
The ACCC urged people to continue to report scams whenever they encounter them. The Commission emphasized the importance to demonstrate the need for a continued community effort to raise awareness.