Canadian Woman Falls Victim To Bitcoin ATM Sting
Although many seasoned cryptocurrency investors understand the scams that plague this nascent industry, there are some no-coiners — unenlightened folk if you will — that still fall victim to life-altering Bitcoin scams and schemes that drain their bank account. Even while awareness regarding Bitcoin-centric swindles has risen drastically, per reports from the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), not everyone has been kept in the loop and out of harm’s way.
Earlier this year, a woman residing in Charlottetown, Canada, was rung up by a presumed scammer, who claimed to be working with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Although many would have immediately hung up, unfortunately, the unnamed woman decided that she would go ahead with the call. In a short conversation, the man explained that she, his victim, would need to deposit large amounts of cash into a Bitcoin ATM machine to initiate a transaction to the “CRA’s” crypto asset wallet.
The man added that if she didn’t send the funds, she would be immediately arrested and subsequently deported. Due to the fact that she recently arrived in Canada as an immigrant, she evidently believed that the man’s claims could hold credence. And the fact that the phone numbers “looked legitimate” didn’t help the situation either. Moreover, she was even called by the apparent crime ring again, who disguised themselves as the accounting firm of her choice and advised her to cough up the funds.
After mounting pressure from the scammers, the woman decided to move forward with the transaction, depositing $62,500 Canadian Dollars ($47,500 USD) into a local Bitcoin ATM, which was owned by crypto startup Instacoin. Following her large cash transaction, the distressed woman seemingly hired a lawyer, taking Instacoin to court for facilitating the scam-tied transaction.
The victim’s lawyer, Jonathan Coady, argued that the woman was acting “under duress” during her deposit into the Instacoin-owned Bitcoin ATM, so she didn’t technically consent to the transaction. As such, it was made clear that Coady and the victim were looking to reclaim the $62,500 in cash from the crypto ATM startup.
However, Michael Drake, the lawyer that was working for Instacoin, claimed that all the ATM provider had nothing to do with the scam, as the startup just swapped her cash for the Bitcoin she was supposed to transact to the “CRA” employee. Acknowledging this fact, Nancy Orr, the Chief Provincial Court Judge assigned to this case, ruled in the startup’s favor, claiming that it’s up to the cryptocurrency transactor to determine if they are making the right choice. Orr stated:
It’s most unfortunate that she was the victim of such a sophisticated fraud. But Instacoin did not put her under duress.
With crypto-focused ATM counts only slated to grow rapidly in the near future, it is unlikely that such scams will disappear off the face of the earth. Consumers, whether actively involved in the cryptosphere or not, will need to continue to look over the shoulder to ensure that they will not be victimized by such attacks, which can trick and fool even the most competent of investors.
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