Maribyrnong Crime Investigation Unit detectives are cautioning people about a scam which involves the victims paying large amounts of cash into a bitcoin automated telling machine in Braybrook.
Investigators have identified four victims, all from the eastern suburbs, who have parted with up to $50,000, after being told that they owe a tax debt and if not paid they will be arrested.
The victims are directed to take money from their bank account and then travel across the city to Braybrook where a bitcoin ATM, one of a very limited number in Melbourne, is located.
The victims are given a code and instructed to deposit their money into a certain bitcoin account.
There are a few variations of the scam where the scammers tell the victim they have spoken to their accountant or to federal police who have confirmed the victim’s debt.
Maribyrnong Crime Investigation Unit Acting Detective Sergeant Katherine Lehpamer urges anyone who may have been a victim of this scam 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,” Acting Detective Sergeant Lehpamer 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 enquiries with the relevant authority before paying any money or giving any banking or personal details over the phone.”
Reviewed 11 February 2019