Bitcoin ATM Fraud Reveals Vulnerability of Migrants in Australia

By Rushali Shome

Recently, four people fell prey to swindlers in Australia who lured them into depositing $50000 AUD into a Bitcoin ATM. The incident was reported from Melbourne, with the victims being from the city’s eastern suburbs. The officials of the Maribyrnong Crime Investigation Unit are investigating the fraud. The detectives have confirmed that the conmen had taken advantage of the fact that their victims were migrants to pose as government officials threatening to arrest them if they didn’t immediately pay up what was supposedly their tax debt.
According to reports, the scammers had compelled the victims to withdraw cash and travel a significant distance to make the deposit into one of the few cryptocurrency ATMs in Melbourne, situated in Braybrook. The detectives have gone on to find that most victims of such fraudulent schemes have been economic migrants to the country. While searching for jobs, these people were easily fooled by the conmen into believing that their immigrant status was at stake. Once this was achieved, the scammers would give their victims a unique code and ask them to make a deposit into a Bitcoin ATM.
A detective from the Maribyrnong Crime Investigation Unit, sergeant Katherine Lehpamer, noted that the scam is expected to have affected many more than just these four victims. The officials are of the opinion that the victims tended to not report scams such as this one because they mostly had expired VISAs and also since they did not know that legitimate authorities never ask users to make cash deposits into ATMs. For these reasons, the ignorant migrants proved to be a particularly vulnerable group for scammers to exploit. The Sergeant went on to add a note of caution for any one who might receive similar calls concerning their tax payment status, saying that no one should divulge any personal or banking details over call to any party without directly inquiring with the official authorities.
As per recent reports, more than a 1000 restaurants in the island continent are due to start taking payments through cryptocurrency. Clearly, use of crypto is gaining ground in the country but with it, it seems swindlers are also gaining in strength.

Rushali Shome

Rushali Shome is a history undergraduate with a keen interest in puns, politics and beyond. When not typing away furiously in the “Notes” section of her phone, she can be found trying to catch the eye of servers at restaurants or weddings for a second helping.

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