Australians have been warned to stay away from suspicious-looking fake Bitcoin paper wallets that work by luring victims into accessing the lucrative crypto-wallet, but end up dispossessing them of their own crypto holdings.
These are deployed by fraudsters in public places such as streets or parks.
An individual who finds the paper wallet and scans the QR code is directed to click on a link to access a crypto wallet with up to 16,000 Australian dollars ($10,000).
The person is then asked to pay a withdrawal fee and provide their own wallet credentials, which will supposedly allow them to transfer the balance to their own crypto wallet.
“Once the withdrawal fee is paid and the person’s cryptocurrency details are provided, the person’s cryptocurrency is stolen from their cryptocurrency wallet,” NSW Police explained.
Authorities have advised the public to be vigilant and that anyone who finds a similar paper crypto-wallet should not attempt to scan the QR code, access the account or provide their private information.
Instead, they should hand the wallet over to the local police station.
This isn’t the first case of a paper cryptocurrency scam in Australia. Over three months ago, a Reddit user created a fiber announced that they had found a paper crypto wallet and flagged it as a possible scam.
Dozens of other people from around the country responded with their own stories of finding paper crypto wallets on the street, at the beach and in parks.
One user, Pinnymc, commented that they almost fell for it because they saw the wallet address and transactions on the chain. They said the website also looked genuine.
However, Pinnymc says they became suspicious because of the 0.5% transaction fee.
“If it was a legit wallet I should be able to withdraw and the transaction fee would be off balance. It’s such a shame because it looks so legit,” the user said.
The Australians have already proven themselves to be special susceptible to investments and cryptocurrencies-related to fraud this year, with A$242.5 million lost to fraudsters so far in 2022, according to data from the Australian consumer watchdog’s Scamwatch website.
Also, the country’s federal law enforcement agency drew attention to the criminal use of cryptocurrencies as an “emerging threat,” but says it’s a challenge to keep up with criminals who are constantly changing tactics and methods.