Australians lost $26.7 million in nearly 2,000 different Bitcoin scams last year – but bank transfers remained more popular method of financial fraud, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says.

The ACCC’s 98-page annual report, “Targeting Scams”, says that scams reported to Scamwatch were up 23 per cent last year, although the ACCC had feared it would be even higher given the unprecedented events of the year.

Bank transfers were the most common payment method used in scams reported to ACCC’s Scamwatch, with $97 million lost in over 8,000 different scams.

The majority of romance-based scams, 57 per cent, involved luring the victim into a cryptocurrency investment scam, the ACCC said.

One person in ACT lost $300,000 from a cryptocurrency investment scam, the ACCC said.

“It appears to be increasingly difficult for people to identify legitimate investment opportunities from scams,” the ACCC reported.

“Scammers no longer just rely on professional looking websites. They now have the ability to contact people through phone, apps, social media and other means.

“We saw more fraudulent celebrity endorsements of investment opportunities advertised across digital platforms as well as scammers posing as romance interests to ‘bait’ people into scam investments.”