Although the “cryptocurrency winter” is now showing signs of thawing, cryptocurrency investment scams are leaving many investors in the cold by losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
South Australians are falling victim to cryptocurrency investment scams through advertisements found online and by downloading phony mobile applications. These bogus apps often use the name and logo of legitimate companies and fraudsters create fake websites with this information to swindle investors.
Unfortunately, the websites and advertisements look convincing by featuring modern graphics, offering in-chat support and even using fake endorsements from high-profile celebrities to promote their products.
The scam usually begins with small amounts being invested and the victim can initially receive a small return. The investment quickly escalates into larger amounts invested and when funds are attempted to be withdrawn, an email prompting to pay taxes is received. Even after paying the “tax,” many people are still unable to withdraw their funds.
Like any investment, you should consider your own circumstances and seek independent financial advice where appropriate before parting with your hard earned cash.
South Australia Police advise to community to:
* Be wary of advertisements found on social media sites offering investment opportunities. Scammers use these platforms to lure potential victims and direct them to fraudulent websites.
* Never allow anyone access to your device to assist with creating accounts. Remote access apps give scammers full access to your phone, your identity, and your newly created cryptocurrency account.
* Do not send copies of identification such as your driver’s licence, passport or Medicare Card to people or businesses that you are unfamiliar with.
* If you have an existing account, protect it by using a unique password, implementing two-factor authentication and keeping Recovery Seeds secure and off your device.
* Watch out for poor grammar and spelling. A legitimate company will take great care in having a professional look through their site.
For further information on scams affecting South Australians, please visit http://www.police.sa.gov.au/scams/