Cryptocurrency-related crimes in the United States increased by an average of 300% every year from 2017 to 2020, according to a new study by Crypto Head, a data aggregation site. The study also found crypto-involved crimes to be on the rise in Australia and the United Kingdom, though not by as much.
The vast majority of crypto crimes in all three countries involved Bitcoin, while Ethereum’s Ether was the second most common.
- Between 2016 and 2020, there were over 110,000 reported cases of crypto-related scams, pump-and-dump schemes or thefts in the U.S., with a total of 82,135 cases last year alone.
- In the U.K., crypto-related crimes increased an average of 24% annually between 2016 and 2020, totaling almost 25,000 over this time frame.
- Data on Australia was only available from 2018 onwards, but already there were almost 6,000 reported cases in the country, totaling more than 23,500 by the end of 2020.
- The study notes the real number of cases may be higher as the data only reflects reported crimes, and due to the relatively new nature of the crimes in question, some victims may be unaware of how to report them. The data was gathered from Freedom of Information requests made to Action Fraud in the U.K., the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
- In a separate report, the Federal Trade Commission estimated American consumers lost a collective US$80 million to cryptocurrency-related scams between October 2020 and May 2021 alone. There were almost 7,000 individual scams over this time, with the losses averaging US$1,900 each.