Australia’s official tax authority has warned the public of scammers purporting to be tax agents demanding cryptocurrencies like bitcoin for tax payments. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is alerting citizens of fraudsters impersonating the tax agency to seek payments of faux tax debts from unsuspecting victims in cryptocurrency. The scammers who purport to be ATO officials have been defrauding taxpayers since late 2017, the ATO said in a notice this week. According to ATO assistant commissioner Kath Anderson, scammers have so far conned over AUD$50,000 in bitcoin alone.
The seismic growth of cryptocurrencies’ popularity, particularly in 2017, makes it “inevitable that scammers would target cryptocurrency” she said. “Cryptocurrency operates in a virtual world, and once the scammers receive payment it’s virtually impossible to get it back,” the ATO official added. s things stand, cryptocurrency is not a recognized method of payment by the taxation office. The ATO lists electronic bill payment system BPAY alongside a credit/debit card as the easiest way to make tax payments alongside a number of alternative options including bank transfers.