According to a recent report by an Australian consumer protection organization, Australian citizens lost over $2.1 million AUD to various cryptocurrency scams, including initial coin offerings (ICOs). The report goes on to say that this loss may only be “the tip of the iceberg.”
A report on scams released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed that Australians lost over AU$340 million to scams in 2017, while $2.1 million AUD, or slightly under 1 percent, were losses related to cryptocurrency scams.
The report noted that the rise in revenue for crypto-related scams corresponded to rocketing coin prices in the later part of the year. While consumers lost about AU$100,000 to scams from January to September 2017, Australians reported losses of over AU$700,000 in December, when Bitcoin prices shot to nearly US$20,000.
According to the report, the most popular crypto scams were fake ICOs, crypto-related pyramid schemes, and ransomware payments. As we wrote in an exclusive piece for Cointelegraph in February 2018, ICO exit scams, or ICOs in which the “founders” disappeared with the money shortly after the offering was complete, accounted for over $22 million in losses in 2017.