Australians continue to be scammed by investment and crypto scams, losing A$242.5 million to fraudsters in 2022, according to the latest Scamwatch figures.
From January to July of this year, the majority of all funds were lost to scams of all types of investment scams, ranging from romance bait scams to classic Ponzi schemes and cryptocurrency scams.
The figure is already 36% higher than the full year 2021 figures, which revealed Australians lost AUD 178.2 million to investment fraud that year.
It’s a threat that has prompted consumer advocates to push banks to take more responsibility for paying back fraud to “bring more investment to stop fraud”.
According to a September 8 report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), advocacy groups pushing for reforms that require banks to check that the recipient’s name matches the account name when transferring money online.
“The key reform is to shift that responsibility from individual consumers to banks for fraud losses,” said Consumer Action Law Center CEO Gerard Brody.
“They [banks] ask you for your account name, but they don’t actually check it.”
However, banks want more customers to use the optional PayID technology, which allows customers to see the name attached to the BSB and account number.
Brody said it’s clear that an optional system forcing consumers to be solely responsible for fraud prevention isn’t working.
Australian authorities appear to have tightened their grip on the crypto space amid an increase in crypto scams, hacks and a general market downturn.
On September 11, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Commissioner Sean Hughes allegedly he insisted for investors to understand that investing in crypto-assets is a form of “extreme risk-taking”.
“We want to be very clear and unequivocal in our messaging to consumers entering the market,” ASIC Commissioner Sean Hughes told the Governance Institute conference, as reported by local media, adding:
“We think crypto assets are highly volatile, inherently risky and complex.”
In August, the Australian Federal Police set up a dedicated team to monitor cryptocurrency-related transactions after previously calling the cryptocurrency an “emerging threat” amid an increase in crime surrounding the technology.
A new Australian Labor government was also announced in the month his attitude on cryptocurrency regulationwhile crypto exchange Binance Australia also announced in August that it was tightening onboarding processes for new users to protect people identified as most vulnerable to financial crypto crimes.