Australian scammers are using fake paper wallets to target unsuspecting digital asset owners before fleecing them, police in the southeastern state of New South Wales have revealed.
According to a social media announcement by the NSW police, a number of people in the state have fallen for this trick and lost thousands of dollars.
The scam starts with fraudsters planting paper digital asset wallets on the streets and parks containing a QR code. The targets who find the wallets scan the code and are redirected to a link that claims to be the gateway to over AUD16,000 (US$10,000) worth of digital assets.
However, one has to pay a withdrawal fee to access the assets. Once the fee is paid, they can then transfer the digital assets to their own wallets, the webpage claims. The webpage also requests the victim to provide their wallet credentials so that the free digital assets can be transferred.
Not surprisingly, once the victim pays the fee and surrenders his credentials, the scammers drain his wallet and make away with his money, plus the withdrawal fee.
“If you find a crypto paper wallet similar to this, be aware that it may be a scam! Do not try to scan the QR code, access the account, or supply your private information. Report found items to your local police station,” NSW Police warns.
Aussie investors have continued to be targeted by digital asset scammers, losing hundreds of millions yearly to these scams. Earlier this month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) published a public advisory warning investors about a rise in digital asset scams.
ASIC further listed 10 telltale signs of a digital asset scam, including fake celebrity endorsements, pressure to quickly invest before you lose out on a “lucrative opportunity,” fake websites and apps that are published on platforms other than Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
Despite the warnings and the continued crackdowns by Aussie watchdogs, investors continue to lose money to digital asset scams. According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), the country could lose up to AUD4 billion (US$2.7 billion) to scammers this year.
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