Cryptocurrencies are often mentioned in the same breath as criminal activity. That situation may not necessarily change in the near future. Australian scammers prefer to obtain Bitcoin over iTunes vouchers. A remarkable trend, albeit it only gives Bitcoin an even worse reputation.
iTunes Vouchers Lose Ground
The mindset of an online criminal isn’t difficult to figure out. Most individuals want to make money quickly without leaving a trace. Gift cards and vouchers are both accessible and useful around the globe. As such, iTunes vouchers are very popular among Australian cybercriminals. This has been the case for an extended period of time.
Slowly but surely, the tide is shifting in favor of Bitcoin. Not in a positive way, unfortunately. Local news outlets confirm criminals rather obtain Bitcoin over iTunes vouchers. Tax scammers are a genuine pest in the country for many years now. Their activity has picked up significantly in 2018. It is expected Australians lost AU$1m to such scams in the third quarter of 2018. That only confirms how crafty criminals have gotten when it comes to defrauding citizens.
Most of the attempts are aimed at migrants unfamiliar with the correct government agencies. As Bitcoin is a global payment method with significant value, scammers shift their attention in this regard. The most notorious example involves a Bitcoin ATM. Migrants were tricked into converting AU$50,000 to Bitcoin through such a teller machine.
More Negative Attention on Bitcoin
Developments like these only bring more negative attention to Bitcoin. The world’s leading cryptocurrency is already under a lot of scrutiny. Many governments consider Bitcoin to be anonymous despite its transparent technology. iTunes vouchers pose a bigger threat in this regard, as they can be purchased without completing a KYC procedure.
The Australian government will have its work cut out. Not just in terms of looking at Bitcoin activity, but primarily due to the taxpayer scams. An estimated 1 million consumers need to make payments to the ATO this year. That statistic makes for a very appealing target for criminals. It seems unlikely the number of taxpayer scams will reduce without government intervention.
The global rise of criminal activity remains a problem. In this era of online connectivity, even more people are prone to such scams than ever before. The fact that scammers try to obtain Bitcoin through these means only makes things more complicated. Australia is a forward-thinking country when it comes to cryptocurrencies. However, they cannot afford to ignore problematic trends like these by any means.
Have you been the victim of a Bitcoin (or other crypto) related scam? How can people protect themselves? Let us know in the comments below.
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