Cryptocurrency scam losses hit new highs in Queensland as cost of living soars

Queenslanders have lost nearly $40 million in investment scams this year, including cryptocurrency scams – the highest loss ever in the state.

Figures from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) from January 1 to August 28 show that Queenslanders have lost $38.6 million in investment scams.

Last year around this time, the residents of Queensland were scammed out of just $19.8 million.

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Nationally, $263 million was lost this year, nearly double the losses in 2021.

One of the state’s top cops on financial crime says the new breed of crypto scammers are using increasingly sophisticated strategies to lure their victims, including impersonating celebrities and even people, the Queensland Police Department on social media. media.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) also labeled the cryptocurrency as an “emerging threat” last year with a report every eight minutes, up 13% from the previous year.

Cryptocurrency investment scams are the main driver of the rise and record numbers of Queenslanders are paying the price.

Here are their stories.

“Took care” and “cheated”

Ella (not her real name), a Sunshine Coast woman, has lost all her savings due to a sophisticated and complex plan.

Over a five-week period, she said she was “groomed” and “scammed” into making three $34,000 deposits on what she believed to be a legitimate online trading platform.

“My bank… didn’t find any warning signs that made me think, ‘That’s a bit dodgy,'” she said.

After depositing the funds, the funds were converted into cryptocurrency which could be accessed through a “wallet” address.

She said the online wallet appeared to correlate with the stock market, creating the illusion that it was legit.

“The point is, none of this is real,” Ella said.

Cryptocurrency scammers are mostly based abroad which makes them harder to track.(ABC News: Mary Lloyd)

“The moment he leaves [the web trading platform] at this wallet address… it goes to all these accounts around the world and it is impossible to track any of these accounts from just this one wallet address.

After Ella’s third and final deposit, she tried to withdraw her money because alarm bells were ringing and she had “nothing else in the tank”.

Scammers told him to remortgage his house or go on credit.

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