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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Police warn of crypto scam after Sunshine Coast man loses $100k

Queensland Police are warning potential investors to be cautious of Cryptocurrency schemes after a Sunshine Coast man was scammed out of $100,000 through an online trading platform.

From October 2021, the 54-year-old man invested $50,00 into a Cryptocurrency online investment scheme, offering people an opportunity to profit through a legitimate trading platform – however the account had been set up by scammers.

The scheme was devised to make the victim believe the trades and profits were genuine, when in fact the data was misleading. As part of the scam the man was informed he would not be able to draw on the false profits for a 12 month period.

After six months of being led to believe the scheme was genuine through online education and training, the victim was convinced to invest another $50,000 into the scam with an offer to increase his level of investor membership to Platinum.

The original account was set up by the scammers through a legitimate online platform meaning the scammers also had withdrawal access under the provisions of the account.Senior Sergeant Craig Mansfield from Sunshine Coast Criminal Investigation Branch said this type of fraud has been occurring in Queensland and internationally.

“Victims need to be aware of jurisdiction issues and the anonymity of crypto account holders,” Senior Sergeant Mansfield said.

“In this instance, the victim did not set the online trading coin wallet up, so it’s believed the withdrawals were undertaken by anonymous entities shortly after the deposits were made,” he said.

Victims are often diverted from email for contact to an App based encrypted communication platform that cannot be intercepted by police.

“Whilst police can investigate, given that most scammers are offshore, it is unlikely we can recover funds or even commence proceedings locally, however we will work with other jurisdictions nationally and internationally to further these investigations where possible.”

Potential investors are warned to be wary of the promise of significant returns or guaranteed returns, especially those with time limitations on when they can withdraw, which gives fraudsters a longer period to operate.

Red Flags to look out for:

  • If you are told you won’t have access to your funds for a set period
  • Others offering to set up your Crypto Wallet for you
  • Being lured into investment levels with terms such as Silver, Platinum or Gold level customers as an example.

If it’s too good to be true, it usually is not true.

If you have information for police, contact Policelink by providing information using the online suspicious activity form 24hrs per day at www.police.qld.gov.au/reporting.

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