Nearly 4,000 Australians reported using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a payment method to transfer funds to fraudsters in 2022. This marks a significant increase of 162.4 per cent over 2021.
Reporting from Decrypt, Tuesday (18/4/2023), this crypto transfer made criminals earn as much as USD 148.4 million or the equivalent of IDR 2.2 trillion (assuming an exchange rate of IDR 14,850 per US dollar), according to a recent report by the Competition and Consumer Commission Australia (ACCC).
In summary, Australians paid a total of USD 56.3 million or equivalent to IDR 836 billion in 2021 and USD 20.5 million or equivalent to IDR 304.4 billion (in cryptocurrency) to fraudsters in 2020.
Overall, Australians lost USD 2.03 billion or equivalent to IDR 30.1 trillion due to various frauds in 2022, with investment fraud accounting for more than 66 per cent of all financial losses, increasing from 55 per cent in 2021.
Top Investment Scam Crypto Payments
Continuing a trend first observed in 2021, cryptocurrencies are becoming the most common payment method for investment fraud, with criminals accepting USD 92.37 million in digital assets in 2022.
As for bank transfers, fraud totaled USD 66.46 million or the equivalent of IDR 986.9 billion in Australia, less than fraud in crypto transfers. According to the report, the typical victim of investment scams is a man living in New South Wales, aged 65 or older.
Another important observation is that many fraudulent investment schemes arise when a person’s new online acquaintance or romantic partner proposes to offer assistance in investing. The report adds that fraudsters may invest a great deal of time building a relationship with victims before discussing the achievements of their own investment.
After establishing trust, the perpetrator will guide the victim to invest their funds and help them create an account on the cryptocurrency platform.