The concept of how cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin work is still hard to grasp for many, which unfortunately has made them a popular avenue for scammers to use to obtain funds from victims.
Here in Canada, news recently broke about a woman who fell victim to a popular scam. Fraudsters pretending to be from the Canada Revenue Agency threatened legal action if she did not pay a fine / fee / back taxes through a Bitcoin ATM. As an operator of Bitcoin ATMs in Canada, we have seen many similar scams lately. In these scams victims are told to deposit money to a Bitcoin wallet via a Bitcoin ATM. Here are some other recent schemes used by scammers asking for payment:
The above examples are only a fraction of the schemes that are currently making their rounds as scammers are using more ways to deceive people everyday. Compounding this is the fact that scammers also tend to target vulnerable populations, such as seniors, or new Canadians, as well as and other people who may be the least likely to identify the scam.
There is another reason why scammers are flocking to using Bitcoin: paying with cryptocurrencies is like paying with cash. Unlike banks, which can reverse transactions in the event of fraud, transactions involving cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are irreversible, non-cancellable, and non-refundable. While the privacy and security that comes with using cryptocurrencies can be used in positive ways, it is also taken advantage of by scammers. Once a transaction is executed, the only way to retrieve funds is for the recipient to voluntarily return them. In addition, many scammers are based in other countries, so catching and prosecuting them is near impossible.
Here at BitNational we believe that the benefits of a globally accessible digital cash and sound money is a net positive, but that there is an inherent risk in the lack of public education on how these new digital assets function. That is why we are striving to provide easy to understand materials, as we firmly believe that knowledge will be the best tool to combat these malicious actors preying on innocent Canadians. One important thing to note is that government agencies and utility companies will never demand Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies for any transactions.
As a Bitcoin ATM operator, we at BitNational have worked closely with our local authorities, like the Calgary Police Service and the RCMP in Vancouver, to warn each other of Bitcoin-related schemes. We also work to make sure that anyone who uses our Bitcoin ATMs are protected from fraud, with initiatives such as
We actively monitor our machines and take action when we see suspicious activity. However, this does not completely prevent victimization using Bitcoin. If you know someone who might be vulnerable to these schemes, help them learn more about these schemes and what they need to watch out for. If in doubt, do not deposit cash into a Bitcoin ATM. Our support team is always available at email@example.com if you need assistance in verifying the authenticity of a transaction. You can also dial 311 to ask to be connected to the non-emergency police line.
It’s important to work together to prevent scammers from using cryptocurrencies to defraud vulnerable people. Report scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. If you know of any other Bitcoin scams that we need to warn people about, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about stopping fraud by watching our video: