The corporate regulator has warned of surging numbers of crytpocurrency-related scams recruiting investors through seemingly legitimate news stories.
Scammers are cold-calling individuals promising high returns through crypto assets using fake news sites to gain personal information.
ASIC warned that a common tactic used by scammers is to promote fake articles via social media that look like real news organisations, including ABC News, Sunrise and The Project.
In doing so, when a consumer clicks on the advertisement, they are directed to a site that is not linked with the impersonated publication where they are asked to put in their basic information.
Scammers then follow up by contacting the person making the inquiry, promising an investment with unrealistically high returns.
How to avoid getting scammed
The corporate regulator is warning that crypto assets are largely unregulated in Australia and carry higher risk.
They are warning individuals to not invest money they cannot afford to lose and to seek professional advice prior to investing.
ASIC also highlighted that news outlets do not offer specific advice as part of their news coverage, as well as the corporate regulators will not endorse particular investments.
What victims can do
Many of these scams originate overseas. Once money has left Australia, it is extremely hard to recover, and it is unlikely ASIC will be able to assist an investor to get their money back.
Victims who have transferred funds via bank transfer or credit card should contact their financial institution as they may be able to reverse the transaction, the regulator says, but if investors have paid scammers via crypto assets, bank or credit unions will not be able to assist.
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