Australia Warns Of Bitcoin Tax Scam
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has warned taxpayers to beware of scammers demanding Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency as a form of payment for fake tax debts.
Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said that the ATO became aware of scammers seeking payment in Bitcoin in late 2017, with over AUD50,000 (USD38,974) paid to scammers so far.
She said: “Cryptocurrency operates in a virtual world, and once the scammers receive payment, it’s virtually impossible to get it back. Scammers are constantly adapting their methods to maximize their chances of picking your pocket.”
“Unfortunately it was inevitable that scammers would target cryptocurrency given its current popularity and anonymity.”
In 2017, the ATO received more than 80,000 reports of scams, with taxpayers reporting almost AUD2.4m lost to scammers claiming to be from the ATO. Over AUD900,000 worth of iTunes gift cards were reportedly paid to scammers. Roughly AUD1.2m was reported lost as a result of taxpayers making deposits or transfers directly into third-party bank accounts.
Anderson reminded taxpayers not to share personal information such as their Tax File Number.