Australians have been warned to stay away from suspicious-looking fake bitcoin paper wallets that work by luring victims into a lucrative crypto wallet but eventually drain their own crypto holdings.

According to November 22 postal According to the NSW Police Facebook page, the scam begins with paper cryptocurrency wallets with a QR code to make them look like legitimate bitcoin paper wallets.

These are spread by scammers in public places such as streets or parks.

An example of scamming cryptocurrency paper wallets.Source: NSW Police Force

Individuals who find a paper wallet and scan a QR code will be directed to click on a link to access a crypto wallet of up to A$16,000 ($10,000).

The person is then asked to pay a withdrawal fee and provide their own wallet credentials, which will purportedly allow them to transfer the balance to their own crypto wallet.

“Once the withdrawal fee is paid and an individual’s crypto wallet details are provided, the person’s cryptocurrency is stolen from their crypto wallet,” NSW Police explained.

Authorities have advised the public to remain vigilant, and anyone who finds a paper-like crypto wallet should not attempt to scan QR codes, access accounts or provide their private information.

Instead, they should hand over their wallets to their local police station.

This is not the first case of a paper crypto wallet scam in Australia.A little over three months ago, a user on Reddit created a Wire Reported that they found a paper crypto wallet and flagged it as a possible scam.

Dozens of others from around the country responded with their own stories of finding paper crypto wallets on streets, beaches and parks.

A user named Pinnymc commented that they were almost fooled because they could see wallet addresses and on-chain transactions. They say the website looks real too.

However, Pinnymc said they were skeptical about the 0.5% transaction fee.

“If it was a legitimate wallet, I should be able to withdraw and the transaction fee would be deducted from the balance. That’s a shame because it looks legit,” the user said.

related: ‘Don’t delay’ – ASIC warns Australians of 10 signs of a cryptocurrency scam

Australians have proven particularly vulnerable to investment and cryptocurrency-related scams this year, with scammers losing A$242.5 million so far in 2022, according to Australia’s consumer watchdog Scamwatch.

The country’s federal law enforcement agency also highlighted the criminal use of cryptocurrencies as an “emerging threat,” but said it was a challenge to keep pace with criminals with ever-changing tactics and methods.