Austria Finance Regulator Sees Frauds Rising Amid Crypto ‘Hype’

Austria’s Financial Market Authority has seen a record in whistle-blower reports of potential fraud in 2020, with crypto currencies being a focus.

Two thirds of the investment fraud reports were related to crypto- and digital currencies trading products, while the rest was, among others, related to stocks and gold, FMA said in a statement. The regulator said it saw a rise in scam offerings for digital currencies on “dubious” platforms, which were often advertised on social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok or Telegram.

“We see a great need for stricter regulation,” FMA spokesman Klaus Grubelnik said on Friday, adding that prosecution of crypto-related fraud was even more difficult as investigations usually have to be conducted across borders. “Fake offerings for stocks and gold have been around forever and these scams are now shifting to digital assets because of the hype,” Grubelnik said.

Despite recent trading booms, the world’s top banks have so far mostly shied away from offering crypto-related services as high volatility and security concerns prevailed.

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