Cryptocurrency “scams” generated over 1200 complaints to Australia’s consumer watchdog in 2017, according to new figures it released this month.
Local news media outlet ABC reports data it obtained from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) reveals 1289 complaints, some of which appear to relate to token offerings.
Australia has remained quiet against the recent backdrop of pledges by international regulators to keep a close eye on cryptocurrency token sales and related activities.
As Cointelegraph reported on various occasions since the World Economic Forum 2018 late January, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has led plans for continued scrutiny on financial products subsequently repeated by entities including the European Union.
While ABC does not state which specific operators the complaints refer to, one investor relates losses he suffered through use of controversial Australian exchange Igot, responsibility for which has since been transferred to Bitlio since an insolvency scam in 2016.
“These are quite speculative products and they can be quite high-risk,” John Price, commissioner for financial regulator the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) meanwhile told the publication in broader comments.
“It's been quite well documented that some of these products are scams, so please don't invest unless you're prepared to lose some or all of your money.”
Scams even affect cryptocurrency’s best-known names, with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin warning investors about a Twitter impersonator purporting to offer free money on his behalf.
The fake giveaway even made the headlines in cryptocurrency news media, which erroneously reported it as legitimate.
Cryptocurrency media is now, even if out of ignorance/stupidity, complicit in making twitter scams look more legit.— Vitalik Buterin (@VitalikButerin) February 18, 2018
Also, the ECF is *not* an EF initiative; it's an independent community organization with some EF participants as advisors.
Shame, https://t.co/JE9wIWmITL. pic.twitter.com/aM4YpjJIP7