Interest money

WA nears record amount of money scammed as cryptocurrency interest surges

WA is on track for its worst year for scams as millions of dollars are lost to crypto currencies.

More than $10 million has been stolen from WA scam victims this year, with consumer protection warning that if the upward trend continues, the state will hit an annual high.

Consumer Protection Commissioner Gary Newcombe has warned that heightened public interest in cryptocurrency investments is leading the rise.

“Get-rich-quick propositions are very tempting at a time when household budgets are under pressure and people are desperately looking for opportunities to earn better returns on their investments,” he said.

Camera iconIn a time when people’s budgets are under pressure, get-rich-quick can be very tempting. Credit: schuldnerhilfe/Pixabay (user schuldnerhilfe)

Cryptocurrency cons now account for nearly half of all scam-related losses.

Western Australians lost $4.1 million from 71 victims of cryptocurrency scams in the first half of 2022, followed by $3.2 million from 37 victims through online scams.

Carine’s scam victim, Jeff Beale, lost money twice when he got caught up in two sophisticated but bogus schemes.

“The complexity and completeness of (the rogue’s) setup is mind-boggling,” he told 7NEWS’ Flashpoint.

Jeff Beale was the victim of two sophisticated scams.
Camera iconJeff Beale was the victim of two sophisticated scams. Credit: Breaking point/provided

Mr Beale said the fraud affected him emotionally, not just financially.

“It’s one thing to have a financial loss, but it’s also an attack on the ego,” he said.

“I thought I was above that and smarter than that.”

A record total of $14.8 million was defrauded by West Australians last year, but that figure was only a small part of the total losses.

Consumer Protection said most losses from scams went unreported.

Mr Newcombe advised anyone considering investing in companies claiming to be high yield not to risk speaking with a licensed financial services provider first.