Australian Regulator Tests Automatic Takedown of Crypto Scam Sites

Cybersecurity experts have welcomed a new attempt by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to automatically remove fraudulent websites. The trial saw dozens of scam sites, including crypto scams, taken offline after more than 300 were reported.

The ACCC reported that Australians lost $113 million to cryptocurrency scams last year. The new lawsuit will be in partnership with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and will focus on effectively removing fraudulent websites once they have been reported to Australian regulators to protect potential investors from crypto fraud.

The ACCC uses a countermeasures service from UK-based Netcraft, which has provided a similar service for the UK’s National Cyber ​​Security Center for four years.

According to a report by IT News, sites already removed include “phishing sites posing as Australian businesses and government authorities”, as well as “puppy scams, shoe scams, online investment scams, cryptocurrency and tech support scams”.

Ken Gamble, executive chairman of private intelligence firm IFW Global, welcomed the development. He told Cointelegraph it was “the best news he’s heard” as he had “seen the damage caused by these sites by sophisticated scammers using cutting-edge digital marketing techniques:”

“These crypto scam websites are unregulated, organized by criminal groups, many of them residing in Eastern Europe, who operate call centers, taking millions of mums and dads across the world every day. world.”

Gamble said Australian government agencies must also be open to working with the private sector to be truly successful.

“We need law enforcement to be involved and work with different countries […] many of these major cryptocurrency exchanges are not helpful in fraud investigations, making our investigations much more difficult than necessary.

Seekers and romantics, beware

Gamble said people researching cryptocurrency are often targeted with Facebook ads “luring them in” with “professional Hollywood-style videos,” convincing them how easy it is to make money:

“If someone wants to invest $10,000 in cryptocurrency, they should spend $1,000 on due diligence to make sure it’s a legit platform. […] if it turns out to be a scam, it will be the best $1,000 they have ever spent.

He said those investing in cryptocurrency should do their own due diligence, as many websites clone larger companies to scam potential investors. He said potential investors should at a minimum “do some checks to make sure the platform is regulated, with all the correct financial license numbers.”

A representative of Cyber ​​Trace, a team of private investigators specializing in cryptocurrency fraud, told Cointelegraph that “romance baiting” is the most common cryptocurrency scam.

This involves victims talking to an online romantic interest who helps them sign up for a major cryptocurrency exchange after telling the victim that they have made “great returns on investment”.

The fraudster will then ask the victim to send “a small sum of up to $200” to his platform, where “he will tweak the numbers on his end to show the victim that he has already made a profit, by offering to withdraw this amount”. earn their trust. »

Once the victim sees how easy it is to make a profit and withdraw their funds, they begin to invest “more and more…and don’t withdraw much after that point.”