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Half of all proceeds from fraud and financial scams in Australia are being washed through cryptocurrency platforms, according to data from the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange.

The not-for-profit group said data from its members, which include the big four banks, revealed that 47 per cent of scam funds were sent to accounts associated with cryptocurrency exchanges in the last 30 days of the financial year.

“Once funds have been transferred to crypto, it is extremely difficult to recover them.” said AFCX managing director David Pegley.

The consumer and competition watchdog has estimated that Australians lost more than $3 billion to financial scams last year and the role of cryptocurrency exchanges as a potential enabler has been a hotly debated issue. In June, the regulator reported consumers lost more than $38 million to scams over the month.

Although banks have sought to de-bank crypto exchanges, regarding them as an apparent blind spot in the financial system infrastructure, crypto industry insiders say it is social media and telco companies that allow scammers to access consumers.

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