Cryptocurrency scam losses hit new high in Queensland as cost of living rises

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

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

This time last year, Queenslanders were defrauded of just $19.8 million.

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

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

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

“Cared for” and “cheated”

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

Over a period of five weeks, she said she was “groomed” and “scammed” into making three deposits of $34,000 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 money was converted into cryptocurrency accessible through a “wallet” address.

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

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

Cryptocurrency scammers are usually based overseas, which makes them harder to track.(ABC News: Mary Lloyd)

“The minute he leaves [the web trading platform] at this wallet address… it goes into all these accounts all over the world and it’s impossible to actually 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 the alarm bells rang and she had “nothing else in the tank.”

Scammers told him to remortgage his house or turn to credit.

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