$50,000 Lost to Bitcoin ATM Scam in Australia
Scammers have managed to con upwards of $50,000 from Australian citizens, luring them in to pay off a non-existent debt in a classic fraud. At least four victims from eastern Melbourne have fallen for the trick, local news media reports.
Purportedly, the scammers would call the victims and convince them that they have an outstanding tax debt and that, if they don’t pay it through a Bitcoin ATM in Braybrook, they will be jailed. The victims would then withdraw their savings from their bank accounts, travel to Brabryook’s Bitcoin ATM and pay off the fake debt to a specified Bitcoin account.
According to the police, this type of scheme targets vulnerable people who are easily convinced that their immigration status is threatened.
Notes Acting Detective Sergeant Katherine Lehpamer:
We believe that there are a number of victims out there who have not reported the matter for one reason or another, they may be here on visas or they are not aware that authorities would never tell them to deposit money into an ATM.
Complete Lack of Awareness
Authorities have more than once urged for individuals to be particularly careful when getting phone calls from institutions and to double-check with the relevant organizations the merit of the claims. Sergeant Lehpamer notes on the matter:
Anyone getting a call along these lines should make enquiries with the relevant authority before paying any money or giving any banking or personal details over the phone.
What is shocking, though, is that Australia doesn’t even accept tax payments made in cryptocurrencies. While there are certain projects which allow citizens to pay their bills with digital currencies, they simply act as intermediaries handling the bills on behalf of the user after receiving the same amount in cryptocurrencies.
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