While scam losses are still significant, the report shows a 16% decrease in losses compared to the same quarter last year. It also reveals that losses from investment scams have declined by 6%, and romance scam losses have declined by 28%.
This is a promising turn, however, for the period January to September, total losses reported to Scam Watch are up 9% on the same period last year, dominated heavily by investment scams. This has occurred despite banks restricting deposits to crypto exchanges, highlighting that scammers will take advantage of whatever payment options they have to move funds from their victims.
Scam reports are up 41.2% on the same period last year, and given that losses have not increased more this might indicate that the government's efforts at better education and making reporting easier has helped scams to be reported earlier and before victims suffer greater losses.
The impact of moves by ASIC, who reported that in just 5 months the regulator had taken down 2,100 scan websites and 400 more were in the process of being taken down, may only just be being felt, given scams can take months to be discovered. The kinds of websites targeted included fake investment, crypto-asset scams and imposter sites where scammers pretend to be financial services business.
Simon Callaghan, CEO of Blockchain Australia, which serves on the Advisory Committee of the National Anti-Scam Centre, said:
We all need to be vigilant against scams, and no part of the Australian Blockchain industry wants to see crypto or blockchain being used for illicit purposes.
This bold action, coupled with the targeted fusion cells and education being driven by the National Anti-Scam Centre is likely to have significant and ongoing impacts on the numbers of scams and we hope that the next report from the Anti-Scam Centre will show a continued trend downwards in the ongoing battle against scams.
By Michael Bacina (Mr Bacina serves as Chair of Blockchain Australia)