A Gold Coast based cold call cryptocurrency investment company has just come under the radar as a scam after more than 100 Australians have been conned into handing over an estimated $2.7 million, with one victim alone losing more than $850,000, according to police.
A total of five people, three men aged 33, 44 and 56 and two women, aged 21 and 28, have been arrested and charged over the scam, which ran from 2017 until May 2019.
Among the victims are mostly senior citizens, which detectives have said the scam has “ruined a lot of lives”, and it will now make retirement very hard for many of the people who have invested money into the scam from their superannuation funds.
The victims who signed themselves up to the scam were offered a trial investment to begin with, with the promise of very lucrative and generous returns once they had invested more funds.
Victims were provided with their own unique login details for the website and thought that they were accumulating significant profit within their accounts however, these profits never existed and when it came time for the victims to withdraw their profits they were unable to, and unable to get in contact with anyone from the company.
Detective Superintendent, Terry Lawrence of the State Crime Command Financial and Cyber Crime Group stated,
“Their money had gone and any attempt they made to contact one of the companies or their staff was unsuccessful.”
Police have disclosed that there are other companies and websites that are attached to the scam which include Exmount Holdings Ltd, The Quid Pro Quo Foundation, The Atlas Group, AFG Associates Pty Ltd, Tradex123, exmounttrading, atlasfxgroup and amazonqus.
The five criminals will face court this month and again in September and will face a probable sentence of 20 years or more imprisonment under the major fraud charge.
What you need to look for when considering a safe investment option
When making an investment, it is always a great and necessary idea that you do extensive research first.
- Where the company is registered
- Is the company compliant under local laws and legislation under ASIC and the ATO
- Check the company Bitcoin Wallet address on a site called Blockchain Explore, this is a great tool and site which will tell you how long the company has been making transactions in Bitcoin (BTC) and how much BTC has not only received, however, more importantly how much BTC has been paid out to their investors.
- Does the company have a low investment level? This allows you take advantage of their investment first before taking the next step and investing more funds.
- Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies are a relatively new technology, so it is beneficial if the company provides full education and training to investors.
- Check to see if the company has had more than two years of positive online reviews.
- Can you access your returns daily?
- Ensure that the investment company warrants a legally binding agreement, under Australian law, between yourself and the company.
- Does the company have proof of successful clients/members and proof of activity undertaken to deliver such investments.
- Does the company have any partnerships with other companies in the cryptocurrency industry, such as crypto exchange hardware supplies?
- Does the company provide consultants who are happy to meet with you in person.
You should always know what you are investing in, and by making sure you check off the above checklist you can ensure you are dealing with a safe and stable investment company that is above board.