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Australia Enables Auto Take-Down of Scam Crypto Sites, UK’s Netcraft to Give Countermeasure Service

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is undertaking a new trial that aims to take down scam websites targeting the crypto community there. Netcraft, a UK-based internet services company has been roped in by the ACCC to provide the countermeasures service to identify questionable and suspicious websites for the take down. The new trial also sees the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) joining it as a partner with the ACCC.

Australians lost over $81.5 million (roughly Rs. 650 crore) to crypto scams between the months of January and May, the ACCC had said in a June report raising an alert against the rising number of cyber-crime cases in the nation.

“First, we need to stop scammers reaching consumers by disrupting the means by which they contact would-be victims – whether through phone calls, SMS, email, social media. Second, we need to better educate consumers so that if a scam contact makes it through to them, they are able to recognise it as a scam,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said in a statement.

Scammers advising their victims on lucrative investment opportunities often use cryptocurrency as a common payment method. Since cryptocurrencies are largely unregulated and their transactions are mostly untraceable, scammers prefer crypto tokens for procuring their prize out of cons.

Investment scammers promise huge returns quickly, only for them to divert the fund to their crypto wallets. Others set up fake sites that enable investors to track their crypto portfolios while also offering ‘test withdrawals’.

“We need measures in place so that if a consumer is convinced to attempt to transfer funds to a scammer there is a safety net there to prevent this from happening,” Cass-Gottlieb added.

Not just Australia, but scam crypto websites are also luring in unsuspecting victims into their traps in India.

In 2021 alone, fake crypto websites registered 9.6 million visits from India, a Chainalysis report had claimed in January this year.

Conmen are accelerating their activities in the US as well, recent reports have highlighted.

American crypto investors lost $185 million (roughly Rs. 1,500 crore) between January 2021 and March 2022 to romance scams and over $1 billion (roughly Rs. 8,000 crore) in total to other fraudulent activities, a BanklessTimes survey concluded earlier this month.

The US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has in fact, alerted job seeking platform LinkedIn, because crypto scammers have become vigorous in their pursuits on the platform.

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