Crypto scammers drained $3b from Australians in 2022

The official report reveals that the hackers stole $3 billion from Australians in 2022 and over $38 million in June 2023 alone.

According to an Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX) report, illicit actors and scammers funneled millions in stolen funds through cryptocurrency operators like exchanges and trading venues.

Industry experts and regulators call for collaboration between banks and exchanges to tackle scammers’ operations.

During the last 30 days of Australia’s financial year, from July 1 to June 30 of the following year, scammers siphoned 47% of all stolen wealth to bank accounts linked to digital asset businesses in the country.

David Pegley, managing director of the AFCX, noted that recovering funds laundered through crypto exchanges proved “extremely difficult”, resulting in greater losses for Australians. The remark was echoed by Anna Bligh, chief executive of the Australian Banking Association.

Bligh further called for policies that cordon off crypto as a gateway for money laundering. She proposed a measure imposing a transfer limit to bank accounts operated by crypto exchanges and digital asset operators.

De-banking crypto In Australia

The AFCX’s report comes amid an effort to de-bank crypto operators like Binance, an exchange coincidentally facing regulatory scrutiny in multiple jurisdictions like the U.S. Binance suspended Australian Dollar (AUD) deposits, citing issues with a third-party payment provider.

Major banks like National Australia Bank reportedly blocked payments to “high-risk exchanges” in June 2023.

Blockchain advocacy agency Blockchain Australia applauded efforts to combat scam activities but argued that it should be done without adversely impacting crypto users’ access to local banking services. Blockchain Australia previously expressed opposition to the restrictions placed on crypto payments.

“The protection of consumers is paramount, both in protection from scams and not burdening consumers with undue restrictions in who they choose to do business with, which must be evidence-based to ensure they bring genuine benefits without undue costs.”

Statement from Blockchain Australia

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