Australian police have been informed of a scam in which the perpetrators are requesting people deposit funds for them at cryptocurrency ATMs. It is thought that those behind the scam are targeting newly-arrived migrants who are unsure if such requests are genuine since they are navigating an entirely foreign system of taxation for the first time.
Elaborate Cryptocurrency Scam Generates Tens of Thousands of Dollars
According to a report in the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper, there have been four victims of the Australian crypto ATM scam to date. All of those defrauded out of funds were based in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.
The scam itself involves those behind it contacting potential victims with a request for outstanding taxes. It states that these must be paid directly into one of the city’s cryptocurrency ATM machines and sent to an unknown address.
Police investigating the scam have reason to believe that those behind it are targeting newly-arrived economic migrants. This demographic is much more likely to be compliant with such a request since refusal to adhere to similar, legitimate requests could negatively impact on the immigration process.
As strangers in a foreign land, the victims are also much less likely to question correspondence supposedly from the government, since they have no yardstick to compare above board requests from authorities to fraudulent ones.
The victims were under the impression that they would be detained if they did not comply to requests for deposits at the crypto ATM in Braybrook, Melbourne. This scaremongering tactic is reported to have netted the scammers an undisclosed five-figure sum.
The Daily Mail also reports on a second variation of the same scam. This time, those behind it tell victims that they have been alerted to a debt of outstanding taxes by the federal police or private accountants.
Katherine Lehpamer, a local police representative, said of the scam:
“Anyone getting a call along these lines should make inquiries with the relevant authority before paying any money… We believe there are a number of victims who may be here on visas or not aware that authorities would never tell them to deposit money into an ATM.”
Scams involving cryptocurrency are nothing new. They come in literally all different guises. Some involve the promotion of fraudulent companies, others are orchestrated by vast armies of Twitter-based robots. Most of these rely on the victims’ own greed being their downfall.
The Australian ATM scam is particularly devious, however, since it plays on newly-arrived migrants’ fears of being returned to the land which they have often worked incredibly hard to escape. Since they will have every intention of doing things by the book in their new home, they are much more likely to fall victim to such a scheme.
Featured image from Shutterstock.