Aussies Set To Lose More Than $100 Million to Scammers In 2018

'Horrific' Australian losses to scammers.

Australians are losing $4.3 million a month to investment scams, according to Scamwatch.

In the first six months of this year $26 million had been reportedly lost to investment scams. This equates to 84 percent of the total cash lost to scams in all of 2017, and it's only July.

“The losses to investment scams are horrific. Each week the ACCC receives heartbreaking accounts of people losing hundreds of thousands, and in some cases millions, of dollars,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

The average month on month increase in losses now stands at 117 percent compared to last year and if this trend continues Australians would have lost $100 million dollars by the end of 2018.

“These scams are very sophisticated and the scammers are very convincing. People aged 45–64 are most at risk and make up more than half the reports sent to Scamwatch," Rickard said.

If the trend continues, Australians could be out of pocket $100 million. Image: Getty Images.
Cryptocurrency Scams

Cryptocurrency trading scams have grown in the last 12 months to become the second most common type of investment scam.

Cyrptocurrency trading scams are similar to traditional ones, where the scammer will claim to have special knowledge about digital currency price movements that will make you a fortune. The second type is binary.

“Binary options trading involves scammers pretending they can predict the movements of a commodity, asset or index prices over a short time," Rickard said.

"They direct you to a website with a login, account details and a trading platform. They appear to put your money into the account and demonstrate a number of successful trades to encourage you to invest greater sums. Then your money begins to disappear and so too does the scammer."

Cryptocurrency scams are now the second most common scam. Image: Getty Images.

Director of UNSW Cyber Canberra Nigel Phair told ten daily that a possible reason for the rise in cryptocurrency related scams is because the technology is new and not yet completely understood.

"We need some sort of position because it is hard to get a standard out there and give customers advice on how to not get scammed," Phair told ten daily. 

Phair said there is a lot of work to be done to normalise digital currencies in society and the scams associated with them so people don't fall victim to criminals.

"We have got to have public guidelines...there is also going to be legitimate investment opportunities [with cryptocurrencies], but we need a regulatory framework so we can provide advice to consumers."

We need to understand the technology so guidelines can be formulated. Image: Getty Images.

Most investment scams still target traditional investments items like stocks, real estate or commodities.

One common example includes people cold calling victims and claiming they have the credentials to manage portfolios, give advice and have secret tips about how to increase investment values.

Claiming their advice will result in fast results with low risk is a trademark of an investment scammer.

“They will use the right technical language and also offer professional looking websites and documents to convince victims they are legitimate. It’s often only when people try to cash out their investment that they realise their money is gone,” Rickard said.