Australians Warned About Paper Crypto Wallet Scam
Over the years, the crypto industry has dealt with a number of scams from all sorts of criminals. From the phishing schemes that replicate well-known websites to the cryptojacking software that appears to be a legitimate program, the industry has truly seen it all.
But residents in New South Wales in Australia are being warned about a new and rather odd crypto scam; paper crypto wallets that are found on the streets. This was revealed in a November 22, 2022, social media post from the NSW Police Force alerting residents of how the scam works and that it should be avoided.
The New Scam
This new scam is perpetuated after the scammers leave crypto paper wallets in public places like parks for potential victims to find. A paper wallet, essentially, refers to the details of a crypto wallet, including its keys, printed or written on a piece of paper.
It is often used by asset holders for security reasons but anyone who gets their hands on a paper wallet can theoretically access the crypto inside it. And this is what the scammers are allegedly banking on. By placing these ‘wallets’ in public places, the goal is for unsuspecting people to scan the QR codes printed on them and try to access the bitcoin stored on them.
But that is not what happens. In a fictional scenario shared by the NSW Police Force, a person is told that they can access a crypto wallet holding thousands of dollars. But to do so, they are told to pay a withdrawal fee and provide their own wallet credentials to initiate a transfer.
When this is done, the scammers gain access to the victim’s wallet and proceed to drain them, with no money being given to them. As such, the NSW Police Force has warned residents to stay vigilant and not scan the QR codes printed on such paper wallets if they come across them.
Instead, they are advised to surrender those wallets to the police immediately. And while this particular warning comes from the police force in New South Wales, it is not exclusive to them. People from all parts of the world have reported seeing these ‘paper wallets’ scattered especially in public places.
Some have, unfortunately, fallen for these scams while others were able to spot and avoid them.
The World of Crypto Scams
It should be noted that this scam essentially preys on the ignorance that some have about cryptocurrency’s inner workings and the allure of ‘free’ money. In many ways, this is akin to pop-up ads promising free iPhones that people see all over the internet.
But clearly, enough people are falling for these scams if they are still being perpetuated. All customers can really do is keep themselves informed of how these scams work to avoid falling victim. It is also encouraging that law enforcement is being informed and is passing on this information via official channels to avoid even more money being lost.