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Public warned after Bitcoin scam swindles Victoria victim for $50K

Victim directed to tell bank funds for buying property, deposit cash at Bitcoin ATMs
VicPD is warning the public after fraudsters took nearly $50,000 from a victim of a phishing scam. (Black Press Media file photo)

A victim is likely out $50,000 after being duped by fraudsters in a phishing and bitcoin scam, prompting a warning from Victoria police.

The targeted person received an email appearing to be from PayPal that said they owed $499 and urgent action was required.

The victim then contacted a phone number on the email and fraudsters convinced them they actually owed $49,999. The victim was then directed to withdraw the funds from their bank.

Police say the scammers knew the bank would flag the withdrawal, so they told the victim to say the large sum was to be used for purchasing property. The fraudsters then directed the victim to deposit the cash through various Bitcoin ATMs throughout Greater Victoria.

“It was only then that the victim realized they had been the victim of a fraud and contacted police,” VicPD said. “It is unlikely that the victim will see any of the $49,999 recovered.”

The fraudsters used a combination of cybercrime and manipulation to overwhelm the victim’s good sense and get what they wanted, police said.

The greatest way for people to protect themselves against being a victim of fraud is by being informed, VicPD added.

The department said a phone call or email is likely a fraud when: someone contacting you demands money and demands you not to tell anyone; someone contacting you saying you owe money and then significantly increases the owed amount, someone asks you to lie about the reason you’re withdrawing money; and when a business asks you to deposit cash into a Bitcoin ATM for payment.

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