ATO warns trustees about increasing crypto scams

SMSF trustees are being warned to be on the lookout for crypto investment scams.


The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) said it continues to see SMSFs suffering losses from crypto investment scams where trustees were conned into investing their superannuation benefits in a fake crypto exchange.

The regulator said losses are also being incurred through incidences of theft, where fraudsters hack into trustees’ crypto accounts to steal their crypto, as well as collapsed crypto trading platforms, many of which were based overseas.

Additionally, lost passwords are resulting in trustees being locked out of their crypto accounts and unable to access their crypto, and they are also being misled by scammers pretending to be from the ATO, telling people they are suspected of being involved in cryptocurrency tax evasion and then asking them to connect their wallet and provide detailed information via a link.

Trustees thinking of investing in crypto need to be aware of the ways crypto can be lost, including via scams and how they can avoid them.

The ATO recommends trustees visit the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch and the MoneySmart section on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) website for useful information on how to spot scams and what to do if they’ve been targeted.

Furthermore, the ATO has stated that many crypto assets are not considered to be financial products, which means the platform where they are bought and sold is usually not regulated and buyers may not be protected if the platform fails or is hacked.

Investing in crypto can be complex and risky, so the ATO recommends trustees seek financial advice before investing and read both MoneySmart and the SMSF investing in crypto assets page.

Additional information can be found at:

  • SMSFs investing in crypto, which reminds trustees of their regulatory obligations needed to meet when investing in crypto assets.
  • Lost access to my crypto, which provides details of how an SMSF may be able to claim a capital loss in situations where investors lose on their investment or their crypto is stolen.



Keeli Cambourne
26 April 2024