Australians report more than $1m lost due to investment scams in one week

Maria Nikolova

Scamwatch is issuing a warning to the public to beware of offers to invest in cryptocurrency firms.

Although January was somewhat of a slow month for investment scams in Australia, as indicated by recently released Scamwatch data, February appears to be bringing hefty losses for the public as a results of illicit schemes.

According to statistics published earlier today by Scamwatch, the body operated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Australians reported losses of $1,039,699 in the week from February 4, 2019 to February 10, 2019. This marks a jump of 830.8%. Let’s note that these weekly losses are higher than the losses reported for the entire first month of 2019.

Scamwatch added a warning to the latest data. This warning advises the public to beware of offers for investments in cryptocurrency companies.

The large majority of investment scams are still focused on traditional investment markets like stocks, real estate or commodities. For instance, scammers cold call victims claiming to be a stock broker or investment portfolio manager and offer a ‘hot tip’ or inside information on a stock or asset that is supposedly about to go up significantly in value. They will claim what they are offering is low-risk and will provide quick and high returns.

Two other types of investments where scams are prevalent are cryptocurrency trading and binary options. Cryptocurrency trading scams have grown significantly in the past 12 months and are now the second most common type of investment scam offer pushed on victims.

According to Scamwatch, the clearest warning sign that one may be dealing with an investment scammer is how they contact their potential victim and the promises they make. Any claims like ‘risk-free investment’, ‘low risk, high return’, ‘be a millionaire in three years’, or ‘get-rich quick’ signify that one is dealing with a scammer.

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