Cybersecurity professionals have welcomed a new trial by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to automatically remove deceptive websites. The trial saw dozens of scam sites, including cryptocurrency scams, disabled offline after more than 300 sites were reported.
The ACCC reported that Australians lost $113 million in cryptocurrency fraud last year. The new trial will be in partnership with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and will focus on efficiently removing scam sites once reported to Australian regulators to protect potential investors from falling victim to cryptocurrency fraud.
The ACCC uses UK-based Netcraft’s Countermeasures Service, which has been providing a similar service for the past four years to the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre.
According to the IT News report, sites that have already been removed include “phishing sites impersonating Australian companies and government authorities,” along with “puppet scams, shoe scams, cryptocurrency investment scams, and tech support scams.” “.
Ken Gamble, CEO of private intelligence firm IFW Global, praised the development. He told Cointelegraph that this was “the best news he’s heard,” because he “saw the damage done by these sites by sophisticated scammers using the latest digital marketing techniques:”
“These crypto-scam websites are unregulated, organized by criminal groups, many of them based in Eastern Europe, running call centers, and taking in millions of moms and dads around the world every day.”
Gamble said Australian government agencies also need to be open to collaborating with the private sector to achieve real success.
“We need to engage law enforcement and cooperate with different countries […] Many of these major cryptocurrency exchanges are not helping the fraud investigation, which makes our investigations much more difficult than necessary.”
Researchers and romantics beware
Gamble said that individuals searching for cryptocurrency are often targeted with Facebook ads that “lure” them with “professional Hollywood-style videos,” convincing them of how easy it is to make money:
“If someone wants to invest $10,000 in cryptocurrency, they need to spend $1,000 for due diligence checks to make sure it is a legitimate platform […] If it turns out to be a scam, it would be the best $1,000 they have ever spent.”
He said that those who invest in cryptocurrency should do their due diligence because many websites are copying larger companies to deceive potential investors. At a minimum, he said, potential investors should “run checks to make sure the platform is regulated, with all the correct financial license numbers.”
A representative from Cyber Trace, a team of private investigators specializing in crypto fraud, told Cointelegraph that “romantic baiting” is the most common cryptocurrency scam.
This involves victims talking to an online romantic interest who helps them register with a major cryptocurrency exchange after telling the victim that they have made “great returns on investment.”
The scammer will then ask the victim to send a “small amount of up to $200” to their platform, where they will “manipulate the numbers on their end to show the victim that they have already made a profit, and offer to withdraw that amount to gain their trust.”
Once the victim sees how easy it is to take profits and withdraw his money, he starts investing “more and more…and doesn’t get much after that point.”