Australians have paid $50k in cryptocurrency to dodgy tax debt collectors, the ATO warns

Cryptocurrency

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is warning the public to beware of scammers impersonating the ATO and demanding Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency as a form of payment for fake tax debts.

Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said that recent reports to the ATO had identified fraudsters pioneering this new payment method when defrauding taxpayers in late 2017.

“We became aware of scammers seeking payment in Bitcoin last year,” she said. “So far, we have seen over $50,000 paid in Bitcoin to scammers claiming fake ATO tax debts.

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 maximise their chances of picking your pocket. Unfortunately it was inevitable that scammers would target cryptocurrency given its current popularity and anonymity.”

“If you receive a phone call out of the blue, threatening police or legal action if you don’t pay a debt, or the person calling you is rude and aggressive, hang up, it won’t be the ATO. Any call-back number provided should be checked via an independent internet search to ensure you are calling the ATO.”

Information on legitimate ATO payment methods is available at: How to pay

To check if a call, email, SMS is from the ATO call us on 1800 008 540 to confirm.

For more information about how to report a scam visit: How to verify or report a scam