Australia Warns the Public of Scammers Demanding Bitcoin for Tax Payments
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) have alerted the public of scammers claiming to represent the tax agency and demanding cryptocurrencies like bitcoin for tax payments.
In a public statement updated on March 14, the ATO reports that the scammers purporting to be tax agents have been defrauding unsuspecting victims of their bitcoin since late 2017. According to ATO Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson, the scammers have managed to get over $50,000 worth of biotin in 2017.
“We became aware of scammers seeking payment in Bitcoin last year. So far, we have seen over $50,000 paid in Bitcoin to scammers claiming fake ATO tax debts.”
Anderson also pointed out the fact that the funds lost to the impostors can hardly be recovered because of the generally anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies.
“Scammers are constantly adapting their methods to maximise their chances of picking your pocket. Unfortunately it was inevitable that scammers would target cryptocurrency given its current popularity and anonymity,” she said.
The amount lost in Bitcoin is considerably low compared to other fake tax fraud, however. The ATO reports that the funds lost in 2017 amounted to about $2.4, with more than 80,000 reports received by the agency. The agency advised the public on possible ways to avoid similar fraudulent schemes.
Currently, the agency does not recognize cryptocurrency as a means of tax settlement. The ATO lists the BPAY electronic bill payment system alongside a credit/debit card as the easiest way to make tax payments alongside a number of alternative options, including bank transfers.
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