Experts say Australians have poured $8 billion into crypto in the past few years since its explosion, and that popularity has made it a prime target for fraud
A young Australian couple is warning would-be investors to be careful investing in cryptocurrency after losing more than $100,000 to scammers.
Emma Robinson and her partner Hugo De Meira Quintao were saving for their first home and decided to invest in shares in a crypto exchange through a company called StockLaunch.
They thought they were using an established firm in Ireland to buy into a stock launch for CoinBase, but instead, the scammers had cloned the address of the platform and were stealing their money.
At one point someone broke accent and I thought, ‘wait a minute, this is weird’, Hugo told the ABC. I got my family lawyers to contact their lawyers, and that’s when they told us it wasn’t their website.
The couple lost more than $100,000 through a series of deposits to the scammers who were pretending to use their money to invest in CoinBase, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world.
Emma, who has been investing in the stock exchange since she was in school, said they realised something was wrong when her final $7,000 deposit bounced.
After investigation from her partner’s lawyers, they realised the scammers had copied all the relevant information from CoinBase but were completely illegitimate.
It was a real shock, it was really upsetting, she said. You hear a lot of success stories, a lot of people made 2,000 per cent on their money in a couple of months, so it’s a really exciting thing for young people.
Experts say Australians have poured $8 billion into crypto in the past few years since its explosion, and that popularity has made it a prime target for fraud.
There are believed to be 300,000 cases of cyber fraud per year in the country at the cost of $42 billion.
Emma thinks banks should be doing more to protect their customers after finding no support from either Westpac or Commonwealth Bank.
When I reported it to Westpac they said there was nothing they could do. Didn’t even transfer me to another department, just nothing they could do, she said. I got a similar response from Commonwealth Bank.
A cybercriminal spoke to the ABC anonymously saying Australia’s wealth and high interest in cryptocurrency made it an attractive market for scammers.
Australia is one of the richest countries in the market, the scammer told the ABC. Australians are very much interested in Bitcoin. I personally speak to about 25 people per day and about five make a deposit at the time.
He says there are about 200 scamming companies currently working in the country where he resides.
The man said people can avoid scams by not participating in unknown calls and emails from people offering them the chance to make money.