We’ve all heard about how cryptocurrency scams have been on the rise in Australia, but very few understand as to where all of that money has gone to and how people were subject to these scams.

Most scammed individuals refrain from reporting their experience as they feel ashamed to have been scammed, therefore, odds are that half of the scams aren’t even accounted for.

There is a clear disparity between which activities scammed Australian investors out of their cryptocurrencies the most, and it looks like plain old investment scams are on the top.

However, due to Aussies’ predominant likelihood to place a bet online, multiple online platforms have also taken advantage of the “digital wild west”.

Around $2 million has been lost to multiple online websites, especially concentrated around slots and sports betting, while AU online roulette games have managed to dodge the bullet completely as they operate live and are easily traceable.

But the online wagering crypto scams in Australia are just the tip of the iceberg as there is one more case which stands out the most as it was in plain sight for a couple of weeks, with very few people recognizing it as a scam.

The Facebook crypto scam

Some may think that the victims were so gullible to fall for the scam that they deserved it, but when you look at the nature of the scam itself, it kind of stands out from the rest.

The social media crypto scams started as early as 2018 and spilled over to 2019. The most recent scam in Australia was the inclusion of a popular TV celebrity Karl Stefanovic in a promoted post on Facebook.

The post mentioned how Stefanovic was “making a killing” with a particular cryptocurrency project and was inviting every Australian to join him.

The scam was structured to register participants, take their personal information and then make them pay a fee for participation.

Once the payment was made, thanks to the anonymity and the tracing difficulties of cryptos, nobody could find out who was behind the scam.

Needless to say, the scammers managed to make millions out of this “Facebook campaign”, which they had dubbed Bitcoin Evolution.

Stefanovic was not the only Australian celebrity to have had his or her name used for fraudulent purposes. The popular TV host, Waleed Aly and Georgie Gardner had also had their names hijacked by scammers.

Gardner even went as far as complain to Facebook directly for not controlling what people can actually do on the platform.

Even the fan-favourite actor of Wolverine, Hugh Jackman couldn’t avoid his name being hi-jacked by a completely identical scam in 2019.

The fraudsters promoted Jackman as a new investor in a Bitcoin loophole which was generating him millions (which is odd because the actor already makes millions every month from his career). The worst thing about the scam was that it was called Bitcoin Revolution, while the previous one was called Bitcoin Evolution. At that point, the victims were criticized even more.

Avoiding crypto scams

Avoiding cryptocurrency scams is pretty easy. If it sounds too good to be true, then it’s most likely the case.

Always be sure to check with the ASIC or the AFS if you have even the smallest amount of doubt about what you’re being marketed to.

The new guidelines prevent companies to offer crypto services to the Australian population, therefore you need to make sure that the company is licensed locally. If they’re not, then there is absolutely nothing that can make them seem legit, even if they try their best.