Understanding Cryptocurrency

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What is cryptocurrency 

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum are digital currencies in which ‘coins’ are exchanged for goods and services via the internet. Cryptocurrencies maintain legitimate benefits as an alternative to traditional currencies such as no banking fees, instantaneous transfer of funds, and privacy of your personal data. 

Despite being a legitimate trade commodity online, a lack of oversight from regulators and the increasingly preferred use of cryptocurrencies by criminals has meant that cryptocurrencies have become synonymous with cybercrime. Just like many other payment systems and platforms, cryptocurrencies are not immune from scams. 

You may have been involved in a cryptocurrency scam if 
  • You ordered goods/services with cryptocurrency through a site that never arrived, and the vendor can no longer be reached. 
  • You installed software related to your cryptocurrency and notice unexplained transactions within your account. 
  • You did not receive the promised return of your investment and are encouraged to buy more to ‘recoup your losses’. 
  • You are asked to receive cryptocurrency and tasked with transferring to other bank accounts with the promise of a percentage - this may be money-muling and is a criminal offence. 
  • You engaged with a fake website that mimics legitimate website, offering cryptocurrencies at lower prices. 

Protecting against cryptocurrencies scams 
  • Never agree to receive funds to transfer to another account for someone else. 
  • Seek out the public identity of the company/ people you are engaging with. 
  • Be cautious with any site or software promising you a fixed gain as these can be scams. 
  • Be certain of the person/product you are engaging with as cryptocurrency transactions are almost all irreversible. 
  • Ensure you have adequate protection on your devices through which you conduct any activity involving cryptocurrencies. 
  • If someone is selling a cryptocurrency investment opportunity do plenty of research and engage widely first, sometimes simply searching the name with ‘reviews’ beside it will identify a scam. 

General response advice for cryptocurrency scams 
  • ‍Disengage with all parties involved to minimise further harm. 
  • Save evidence of transactions, correspondence, information about those you have engaged etc. 
  • Ensure no breach of your device of personal information occurred by completing a virus scan, reset all PIN’s and passwords, clear history and remove cookies and if required reinstall your operating system. 
  • Reflect on what information was provided about yourself during the scam. 
  • If you provided remote access to the scammers to assist in crypto set up, uninstall the application that allows the remote access. 
  • Contact IDCARE to work through your concerns and to develop a response plan. 

More information 

IDCARE offers a wide range of Fact Sheets and information related to cyber security. Please see some of our other Fact Sheets for more information. 

For additional support or information, contact IDCARE by submitting a Get Help Form or call 1800 595 160 (Aus) or 0800 121 068 (NZ).


Identity Care Australia & New Zealand Ltd (IDCARE) provides identity and cyber security incident response services (the Services) in accordance with the following disclaimer of service:

  • IDCARE is Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber incident community support service. IDCARE is a not-for-profit and registered Australian charity.
  • The Services provided do not constitute legal advice. IDCARE recommends that you consult your own legal counsel in relation to your legal rights and obligations, including but not limited to your legal rights or obligations under Australian and international privacy and data protection laws.
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IDCARE is here to provide you with specialist support and guidance when faced with a cyber and identity related issue. Contact one of our Identity & Cyber Security Case Managers to learn more about our Support Services and how we can help you.   

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