From today’s age: Don’t be afraid to hang up.
Victorians have been warned against a cryptocurrency scam after fraudsters posing as debt collectors convinced victims to deposit more than $50,000 into a bitcoin ATM.
The victims, who are all from the eastern suburbs and believed to be migrants, were told they would be arrested if the amount was not paid.
Police said the four victims were told to take money from their bank accounts and go to Braybrook where a bitcoin ATM, one of a few in Melbourne, is located.
The victims were then given a code and instructed to deposit their money into a certain bitcoin account.
There are a few variations of the scam, where the fraudsters tell the victim they have spoken to their accountant or to federal police who have confirmed the victim’s debt, police said.
Maribyrnong crime investigation unit acting Detective Sergeant Katherine Lehpamer said she feared there may be many more victims and urged anyone affected to contact police.
“We believe that there are a number of victims out there who have not reported the matter for one reason or another, they may be here on visas or they are not aware that authorities would never tell them to deposit money into an ATM,” she said.
“It does appear that the scammers are targeting a certain group of people who they can convince that their immigration status is in jeopardy.
“Anyone getting a call along these lines should make inquiries with the relevant authority before paying any money or giving any banking or personal details over the phone.”
There are more than 20 bitcoin ATMS scattered across Melbourne, including in St Kilda, Richmond, Prahan, CBD and Maribyrnong.
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.