A scammer posing as an IRS agent tried to trick a man into paying an overdue tax payment through a Bitcoin ATM in downtown Seattle.
On February 12th, the 34-year-old target of the scam met with police at 4th Avenue and Pine Street in downtown Seattle. He said he’d received a series of texts from someone claiming to be an IRS agent, who had demanded $2,560 and said he would call the police if he didn’t make the payment. He then instructed the victim to deposit the money at a Bitcoin kiosk at Westlake Mall.
Bitcoin is a secure digital currency, which is just like real money as long as the internet remains plugged in.
The victim deposited the money into an account at the kiosk but then, with the help of a family member, changed some of the account settings in an attempt to lock the suspect out. Police are still investigating whether the suspect was able to obtain any money from the account.
Detectives aren’t aware of any other IRS scam cases involving Bitcoin, but regularly receive reports of fraudsters attempting to con victims into paying them via Itunes, Green Dot and other gift cards.
Remember: law enforcement officials will never call you and demand payment for back taxes, a warrant fee or any other sort of bill over the phone.
If you or someone you know has been targeted in a similar scam, please call 911 to make a report or contact SPD’s Fraud Unit at (206) 684-8981.