Australian Consumer Watchdog Received Over 1,200 Crypto Scam Complaints In 2017

Crime, News | February 22, 2018 By:

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the consumer watchdog of the country, has reportedly received over 1,200 complaints about cryptocurrency scams in 2017.

According to data obtained by ABC’s current affairs program 7.30, a total of 1,289 complaints were received by the ACCC in relation to crypto scams, with reported losses totalling $1,218,206 AUD.

The program did not state which specific operators the complaints refer to. But one investor claimed that he was defrauded by an exchange called Igot. The investor said he lost $20,000 when he attempted to sell his holding of bitcoin through the exchange. According to the investor, ever since the theft happened, he has been trying to get his money back but received little help from authorities.

Speaking to the program, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) commissioner John Price warned that certain cryptocurrency products are scams and that people should only invest in these types of projects if they are prepared to lose a portion or even all of their invested sum.

The news comes two months after the Australian government introduced some regulations to the local crypto market. In December, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (Austrac), the country’s financial intelligence agency, received the approval of the government to monitor local cryptocurrency exchanges.

Since December, all crypto exchanges in the country were required to register with Austrac. Other procedures were also required for these exchanges, such as anti-money laundering laws coming into effect, as well as the verification of their user’s identities and keeping records of all transactions for at least seven years.

“This will stamp out fraud and allow innovation to flourish; a bold move that will benefit Australians for years to come,” said Paul McKenzie, operations manager at Victoria-based digital currency exchange, at the time.