Mike and Karen Taylor say their entire retirement savings has evaporated after they got caught up in a cryptocurrency scam in Australia.
The Melbourne couple say they were traveling around the country in a camper van when they decided to invest some of their savings through a website. Eventually, they tapped into their pension until their total investment reached $633,000 ($900,000 AUD). Months later their money was gone.
Mike Taylor tells local media outlet 7News that the website looked legitimate but after a few months they never saw any return.
Regulators in the US issued a warning last year about crypto scams and created a fake website to illustrate just how easy it is to get enticed – and later ripped off – by a slick, professional-looking website.
Says Taylor, a bus driver,
“That was the whole of our superannuation – that’s now gone.”
According to the report, Taylor will return to work, and he plans to sell his 1965 Pontiac to make some money.
Crypto scams that promise high returns are becoming increasingly widespread in Australia where fraudsters made off with $4.3 million ($6.1 million AUD) in 2018.
A recent study shows that the Taylors are among a growing number of Australians being targeted by cryptocurrency criminals.
“Online scammers generally tricked consumers into buying various cryptocurrencies through fake platforms, but when consumers tried to cash out their investments, scammers “made excuses or were no longer contactable,” explained the ACCC report.
Some investment scams also asked victims to pay in cryptocurrency for forex trading, commodity trading or other investment opportunities, asking victims to visit bitcoin ATMs to convert fiat into the cryptocurrency and then transfer it to them.”
You can check out the full study here.