Australians report $2.96m in losses due to investment fraud in August 2018

Maria Nikolova

The losses due to investment scams have topped $32.7 million since the start of 2018, according to the latest data from Scamwatch.

Scamwatch, the body operated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has just made public the latest numbers about fraud reports in Australia. Although investment scams did not lead to massive losses in August in contrast to July, the results indicate a constant threat of investment fraud for Australians.

There were 290 reports of investment fraud in August 2018, with a total of $2,964,717 reported as lost due to such scams last month.

Those aged above 65 were the ones to report the biggest losses (more than $1 million in August), whereas Australians aged from 25 to 44 were the most active in submitting reports about scams. Western Australia was the region with the largest losses due to investment scams last month, followed by New South Wales and Queensland.

Since the start of 2018, Australians have reported losses of more than $32.7 million due to investment scams. The number of reports has reached 2,353.

So far this year, July holds the record for financial losses due to such fraudulent schemes – with more than $6 million lost that month.

Source: Scamwatch.

Scamwatch has recently voiced its concerns about the continued expansion of certain investment scams, including binary options and cryptocurrencies. 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.

“The rise in popularity in cryptocurrency trading has not been missed by scammers who are latching onto this new trend to con people. These are similar to any other investment scam: the scammer will claim to have inside knowledge about price movements they will use to make you a fortune. If you invest, your money will quickly disappear,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Binary options trading stays a popular scam activity area. It involves scammers pretending they can predict the movements of a commodity, asset or index prices over a short time. They direct investors to a website with a login, account details and a trading platform. They appear to put investors’ money into the account and demonstrate a number of successful trades to encourage the investors to invest greater sums. Then the investors’ money begins to disappear and so too does the scammer.

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