Police in Canada have issued a warning over a bitcoin tax scam after more than 40 York region residents fell victim to fraudsters.

According to a report by CBC News, York Regional Police said that victims lost as much as 340,000 Canadian dollars (US$267,000) through the scam.

The fraudsters, who identified themselves as employees of the Canada Revenue Agency, threatened the victims with arrest for unpaid taxes if they did not send funds using bitcoin ATMs.

York police’s Det. Const. Rob Vingerhoets said the bitcoin ATMs are “legitimate” and that tracking down the fraudsters or recovering lost money may be possible.

According to police force, there has been an increase in reports of such scammers in recent months. Public awareness is the only way to combat such scams in the future, Vingerhoets said, adding, “Our main strategy, … [is] to stop people from becoming victims in the first place.”

York police have placed flyers near bitcoin ATMs to alert the public about potential scams, the report adds.

The news comes soon after Durham Regional Police Service in Ontario issued a warning to the public about fraudulent investment schemes involving bitcoin.

Bitcoin and ATM receipt image via Shutterstock

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