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ASIC Alerting Australia Against Rising Crypto Scams

The Australian watchdog- ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission) informing Australians on the growing fake celebrity-endorsed bitcoin and crypto Ads are perhaps scams.

As the charm of cryptocurrencies is on the rise so do the scams. The latest updates on ASIC’s official website mentions that people are being duped by the fraudsters and scammers after employing celebrities testimonials on cryptocurrencies.

The website cited few celebrities like Celeste Barber, Waleed Aly, Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest, Virginia Trioli, and Kochie are among others “whose endorsements are being used fraudulently” to legitimize crypto scams.  

Fake Crypto News Portals and Bots 

The watchdog mentions that scammers are rapidly using major news portals, business groups, and government agencies to promote cryptocurrency scams. The report cited the scam details after receiving the reports from the public and internal research.

As per the information, the two most prominent methods are being deployed by the swindlers which are fake news websites pretending to be crypto trading robots like Bitcoin EvolutionBitcoin Revolution, and Bitcoin Trader; and cryptocurrency pump-and-dump scams.  

“These websites are advertised using fake celebrity endorsements, which appear on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. When an investor clicks on the article or ad, they are often sent to a ‘mirror site’ – a fake version of a legitimate news site such as ABC News.”

Crypto trading bots try to trade on victims’ behalf and siphoned them by accessing their bank account details. These fraudsters are out of the catch from the police as they operate in foreign countries and few minutes transferred the money in various unknown offshore accounts.

Victims think these endorsements are legitimate and fraudsters then direct them to the “fake crypto-trading website, where generally there is a reference on the website to margin FX trading or contracts for difference (CFDs). The investor is then asked to deposit funds into an account via numerous methods, which may include crypto wallets or bank accounts. In some instances, when the investor logs into their account, it may look as though they are making profits initially (due to fake data), but eventually they will see ‘trading losses’, even though no actual trading is taking place. When investors eventually ask to withdraw their funds, scammers either cease all contact or demand further payment before funds can be released.”

Rising Crypto ‘Pump-and-dump’ Plans

The cryptocurrency pump-and-dump scams are swelling up. Hoaxers play with investors’ sentiments and create the FOMO in their minds by pumping the price of crypto assets.   

“Fraudsters combine online search terms – for example, a cryptocurrency plus an Australian celebrity’s name and image – to generate fake news articles and ads on social media. Online search engines and news sites often republish those articles or ads, perpetuating excitement and interest in the cryptocurrency, leading to a purchasing frenzy.”

“As more people buy into the cryptocurrency, its value rises (‘pumps’ up) and other traders latch on, further boosting its price. The scammers then sell (‘dump’) their share in the now-overvalued cryptocurrency. This causes its value to plummet, along with any hope for victims of recovering their initial investment.”

Typically Victims are Gen Z Group

Scamwatch, a government division of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which provides information to consumers on how to recognize, avoid, and report scams reveal in an article that the most affected victims of scams are Gen Z.

According to the information, during 2019, Australians under 25 age group came out as victims who lost $5 million in scams. Notably, the cases are on the rise faster than the mature age group.

Earlier this month, in the recent coordinated Twitter attack many celebrities, politicians, and famous crypto bulls accounts were hacked by the hackers. As per the investigations, the hackers are not sophisticated Bitcoin or crypto users and leaving their trails of transferring, moving, or mixing their funds to various accounts.