Australia’s tax authority is warning taxpayers to beware of scams involving bitcoin (BTC) ATMs. Why now? Because income taxes are due Nov. 21.
“While most taxpayers received a tax refund this year, around one million taxpayers will need to make a payment to the ATO,” the Australian Taxation Office said in a press release. The scam involves fake messages demanding tax payments through bitcoin ATMs.
“Our advice is simple – the ATO will never ask you to make a payment into an ATM or via gift or pre-paid cards such as iTunes and Visa cards, or direct credit to be paid to a personal bank account,” said Kath Anderson, the agency’s assistant commissioner. “Be wary if someone contacts you demanding payment of a tax debt you didn’t know you owed.”
Since July 1, Australians have reported more than 28,000 scam attempts to the ATO and paid almost $1 million to scammers, she added. Payments through bitcoin ATMs have now overtaken iTunes vouchers as the most common method of scam payment reported to the ATO.
The warning comes as the number of bitcoin ATMs is poised to increase in Australia. As of the middle of July, there were 46 bitcoin ATM in the country. Last year, DigitalX, a blockchain company and Stargroup, which owns and operates 2,900 ATMs, announced an agreement to equip the Stargroup network in Australia with the technology to buy and sell bitcoin.