Aussies are being warned about a new scam involving fake cryptocurrency wallets, which have been found in streets and parks around New South Wales.
NSW Police said they had received multiple reports from members of the community who had been scammed by the scheme.
According to the police, scammers have been leaving fake paper wallets for unsuspecting Aussies to find. These are physical wallets made from paper, which investors use to store and access their cryptocurrency offline.
The fake wallets are designed to look like real versions and contain a QR code, which scammers hope Aussies will scan.
Once the code is scanned, the person is asked to click on a link to access a crypto wallet, which claims to contain up to $16,000. They are then asked to pay a withdrawal fee to transfer the balance into their own cryptocurrency wallet and to provide their wallet details.
“Once the withdrawal fee is paid and [the] person’s crypto wallet details provided, the person’s cryptocurrency is stolen from their crypto wallets,” NSW Police explained.
“If you find a crypto paper wallet similar to this, be aware that it may be a scam.”
Police have urged Aussies to not scan the QR code, access the account or supply private information, and to report found items to their local police station.
Crypto scams soar
Aussies lost more than $701 million to investment scams in 2021, an increase of 135 per cent from the previous year.
The main driver of this increase has been cryptocurrency investment scams, where losses have risen by a whopping 270 per cent.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has estimated that Aussies will lose $4 billion to scams this year.
Between January and September, Scamwatch already received more than 166,000 reports with a total of $425.8 million in losses.