Australians reported more than 1,810 cases of cryptomoney-related scams in 2019, totalling more than AU$21.6 million (US$14.9 million).
According to a study by Scamwatch, an arm of Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission, younger Australians aged 25-34 were most affected by crypt investment scams.
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According to the report:
“Cloud mining farms became a common adaptation of this type of scam. Most were Ponzi schemes, with no real cryptomonies involved.”
It goes on to characterize cloud cryptomining as “an incredibly resource-intensive activity” that relies on powerful computer systems to extract a currency. This is the concept on which the fraudsters are building their deception, asking people to invest in non-existent server time or space.
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Crypt-related scams are on the rise
The Scamwatch study reveals a sharp increase in total losses related to scams over the past two years, from $234 million in 2017 to $437 million in 2019.
An example of the report is an international Ponzi scheme that calls itself “USI Tech. It arrived in Australia in 2019, and Scamwatch received more than 200 reports of total losses of $2.2 million paid irreversibly at Bitcoin (BTC). Scamwatch’s report says that USI Tech is now known as one of the world’s largest crypto-currency scams.
Bitcoin was a leading payment method used in all types of scams in 2019, ranking second to conventional bank transfers.