Australian Labor Government Urged to Protect Aussies from Crypto Scams

June 01, 2022, 10:00 AM AEST - 1 month ago

Consumer advocates have begun urging the new Australian Labor government to protect citizens from crypto scams. This accompanies the release of a national survey conducted by CHOICE on Australians’ attitude towards crypto:

CHOICE vs Crypto Scams

Consumer advocates are calling for industry reform in the crypto and blockchain sector as the Labor Party embarks on its first term of government. Despite only one in 10 Aussies having reportedly purchased crypto in the past 12 months, a concerning cohort of those were caught up in investment scams. On top of this, the recent flattening of the market has seen billions of consumer dollars lost.

The combination of crime and market volatility has prompted CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group, to petition the incoming government for change:

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CHOICE is hearing from many Australians about financial loss and other harm caused by purchasing crypto assets that were not what they appeared to be.

Patrick Veyret, spokesman for CHOICE

CHOICE is calling for more stringent regulation and is composing a submission to the federal treasury. The submission will request several changes, including a “single definition for crypto assets” for regulatory purposes, as well as the requirement for crypto exchanges to install appropriate measures to “prevent fraudulent payments and to reimburse consumers” should fraudulent payments occur.

Consumer Watchdog Nips Crypto

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been cracking down on crypto scammers over the past year. In March 2022, the ACCC sued Meta, Facebook’s parent company, over its failure to prevent the circulation of scam crypto ads. The misleading ads took the form of several local Aussie celebrities appearing to endorse crypto investments and were in adjudged to be in breach of Australian consumer law.

An uptick in the number of crypto investment scams was reported by the consumer watchdog in April this year as crypto superseded bank transfers in terms of investment scams. As a result, losses to crypto scams had increased by 90 percent in the space of three months.

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