The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which is attempting to take down fraudulent websites, has welcomed a new trial. After more than 300 reports, the trial saw many scam websites, including crypto-scams, taken offline.
According to the ACCC, $113 million was lost by Australians in crypto scams last year. To protect potential investors against falling prey to crypto fraud, the new trial will be conducted in partnership with ASIC and Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). It will concentrate on efficiently removing scam websites after they are reported to Australian regulators.
The ACCC uses a countermeasures service provided by Netcraft, a UK-based company that has been providing similar services for the past four year to the U.K’s National Cyber Security Centre.
IT News reports that sites have been taken down include “phishing websites impersonating Australian government agencies and businesses,” “puppy scams”, “shoe scams” and “crypto investment scams.”
Ken Gamble, the executive chairman of IFW Global private intelligence firm, praised this development. Cointelegraph was told by Gamble that this is the “best news he’d heard” because he “seen the damage these websites have done to sophisticated fraudsters using advanced digital marketing techniques:
“These cryptocurrency scam websites are not regulated, organized criminal groups many residing in Eastern Europe who operate call centers, taking millions of mums and fathers around the world every single day.”
Gamble stated that the success of Australian government agencies depends on their willingness to collaborate with the private sector.
“We need law enforcement to get involved and collaborate […]with other countries many major cryptocurrency exchanges don’t help with fraud investigations, making it a lot more difficult than necessary.”
Researchers and romantics should be cautious
Gamble stated that people searching cryptocurrency are often targeted by Facebook ads “luring” them in with “Hollywood-style professional videos,” convincing their how easy it is for them to make money.
“If someone wants to invest $10,000 in cryptocurrency, they should spend $1,000 to do due diligence to make sure it is a legitimate platform […]. If it turns out to have been a scam it will be the best $1000 they’ve ever spent.”
He advised that anyone considering investing in cryptocurrency should conduct their own research as many websites mimic larger companies to deceive potential investors. He suggested that potential investors should do a minimum of checks to ensure the platform is properly regulated and has all necessary financial license numbers.
Cyber Trace is a group of private investigators that specializes in cryptocurrency fraud. A representative told Cointelegraph that romance baiting is the most popular cryptocurrency scam.
After telling the victim that they had made great returns on their investment, victims talk to an online romantic interest who then helps them sign up for a major cryptocurrency exchange.
The fraudster will ask the victim to send a “small amount up to $200” to their platform. They will then “fiddle with the numbers on their end, showing the victim that they have already made profits, and offering them the opportunity to withdraw the amount to win their trust.”
Once the victim realizes how easy it can be to make a profit, and then withdraw their money, they start to invest more and more. They don’t get much after that point.
Eileen Wilson –Technology and Energy
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