More than 1,200 complaints were sent to the consumer watchdog in Australia related to cryptocurrency scams throughout 2017.
Australians Lose Around $1 Million to Crypto Scams
The data was reported by the current affairs show 7.30 on ABC, and the figures originated from a report the team at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released related to scams.
In total for 2017, there were 1,289 complaints sent to the commission in relation to cryptocurrency frauds for the year. There was also A$1,218,206 ($956,364) in losses reported that related to these frauds.
The commissioner for the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) John Price appeared on the show and warned people 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.
Australia Taking a Cautious Approach
Generally, Australia has been a country that has embraced digital currencies. There have been a number of ICOs been held here recently from companies based in China and the likes. Of course, China has a complete ban in place from their companies holding token sales on their shores, so they have to go elsewhere in order to do so.
They have introduced some regulations to the crypto space, with changes implemented in December 2017 to place tighter control on the sector. Part of these changes was the approval being given to the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) to monitor the bitcoin exchanges in the country.
As a result of this change, all exchanges in Australia had to be registered with Austrac, and they were also required to be part of the dedicated register. 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 comes as there has been a crackdown across the world in relation to crypto ventures that are fraudulent in an attempt to keep investors as safe as they possibly can.
It was in January 2018 for example that the New York County District Attorney’s Office forced the closure of over 70 investment sites for bitcoin that were alleged to be fraudulent in nature.
There has also been a significant amount of action been taken since the turn of 2018 by the Commodity Future Exchange Commission (CFTC) and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against fraudulent crypto-related ventures.
One such case involving the SEC was when they filed charges against AriseBank, a crypto banking firm in relation to alleged violations of securities laws and fraud. A cease and desist order was issued January 25, 2018, to the company to stop all operations.
This was at a similar time as when the CFTC filed a lawsuit against My Big Coin, a crypto scheme, for alleged fraud, which came only a week after they filed two lawsuits against suspected fraudulent crypto-related investment schemes.
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