In recent news, Australian citizens have become victims of the scammers impersonating as tax agents and collecting taxes through Bitcoin. Australian Taxation Office(ATO) has warned the people to be vigilant from such fraudsters.
ATO has issued a notice this week in which they describe the fraud that has been brewing. Apparently, since the end of 2017, the fraudsters have asked false tax debtors for immediate payment through cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, where only with a bundle they have obtained 50 thousand dollars.
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.
-Statement from ATO Assistant
As of now cryptocurrencies are still not recognized as means of tax payment by ATO. Whilst Credit/Debit Card or electronic bill system BPAY are listed under tax payment methods among other options including bank transfer. Despite this information, some people fall prey to scammers who demand cryptocurrencies.
Apparently, this type of scams are not the only ones carried out in 2017. Other forms of fraud have lost about $2.4 million to its inhabitants, between direct transfers to third parties (which are not official accounts of the ATO), payments through iTunes and prepaid VISA cards.
The announcement of the ATO this week is part of the effort that together with the watchdog for consumer authority, Australian Commission of Competition and Consumption (ACCC) have warned people of this and other possible scams. In the text you can read:
If you get a phone call out of the blue, threatening the police or legal action if you do not pay a debt, or the caller is rude and aggressive, hang up, it will not be the ATO. Any callback number must be verified through an independent search on the Internet to make sure you are calling the ATO.
ACCC has received complaints representing an increase of 126% of the scams only with cryptocurrencies, adding about $1.2 million in losses.
Otherwise, it was recently learned about the investigation carried out by the Australian Police for the alleged case of illegal mining of cryptocurrencies by government officials.
So, although Australia is a country open to the use of cryptocurrencies, it is not illogical that so many complaints begin to regulate the market.