A Canadian Court has recently ruled in favor of a Bitcoin ATM company which was sued by a user who fell victim to fraud. The victim was a woman who was tricked via a phone scam to deposit $62,500 into a Bitcoin ATM and send the money to an anonymous address belonging to the fraudsters. A judge has since ruled that the cash, seized by police inside the ATM, belongs to the company that owns the machine, CBC reports.
“It’s really hard. I need that money back,” the woman, overwhelmed with emotion, said in a phone call with CBC News after the decision was made on Friday in Charlottetown Provincial Court. “I want other people to know what happened to me, so it doesn’t happen to them.
The woman testified during her court hearing in September that a man claiming to work for the Canada Revenue Agency had contacted her demanding that she account for unpaid taxes. The phone number of the fraudsters appeared to be legitimate, and the woman claimed that the fraudsters also contacted her posing as her accounting firm, advising her to pay the money. Taking advantage of the woman being a recent immigrant, the fraudsters were able to successfully scare her into believing she might face arrest and deportation if she didn’t immediately make the payment.
“She was under duress,” the woman’s lawyer, Jonathan Coady, argued during the hearing. Coady made the case that for this reason, she had not consented to the transaction.
However, the court ultimately sided with Charlottetown lawyer Michael Drake, who represented the Bitcoin ATM’s owner, Instacoin ATM Canada Inc. The company stated that it was merely providing a financial service to the woman, by converting cash to Bitcoin and sending it to the address she provided, reports CBC.
While the woman was able to provide the telephone number and wallet address of the fraudster, the anonymous nature of Bitcoin makes it nearly impossible to determine their real identities.
“Both sides involved in this case are completely sympathetic to the woman,” said Chief Provincial Court Judge Nancy Orr, while giving her decision. “It’s up to the bitcoin purchaser to know what they’re doing.”
“It’s most unfortunate that she was victim of such a sophisticated fraud, but Instacoin did not put her under duress,” she stated on Friday.
Judge Orr reviewed Government of Canada information on digital currency over the course of the case. She noted that the anonymous transactions being made without the need for banks is attractive for users, but that increased fraud is a one of crypto’s dangerous drawbacks. Crypto transactions are instant and non-reversible.
The woman told CBC News that she continues to receive calls from telephone scammers. “Now I hang up,” she said.
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