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News being reported from Europe by EU law enforcement agencies about the arrests of six individuals involve in a multi-million crypto fraud case. These arrests were executed by the United Kingdom’s South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit in collaboration with other European authorities after an investigation of fourteen months.
The UK’s SW RCCU carried out this task as a joint operation with Europol, Eurojust, Dutch police and the Britis National Crime Agency The reason for this fourteen-month old investigation has to do with a €24 million in virtual currency that got stolen. This heist was carried out by five men and a woman.
Their arrest took place while they were home in diverse locations in Europe such as Charlcombe, Staverton and Lower Weston in the United Kingdom, and Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
What Do We Know About The Cryptocurrency Theft?
This cryptocurrency theft was one that mainly focused on crypto investors of Bitcoin. The crypto fraud affected a total number of roughly four thousand (yes, 4,000!) victims residing in about twelve different countries. It’s important to note that the numbers of those affected are still growing by the day even with the multiple arrests.
The investigation carried out showed that the theft is linked to “typo-squatting.” Typo-squatting is done to gain easy access to the Bitcoin wallets of unsuspecting victims by luring them into fake websites that imitate real popular crypto exchanges, and then their funds and login details are stolen.
When the case opened, it was immediately referred to several European agencies: European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT). The operation was coordinated at Europol HQ as British authorities were able to locate prospective suspects residing in the Netherlands, which led to a joint venture of Dutch and British authorities. Thus, a seamless exchange of evidence and intelligence was carried out and recorded before reaching the final goal of arrests.
It All Started from a Report of £17K Crypto Theft
Readers should have in mind that the investigation was initially initiated from just one distinct report of a £17K (about $21,500) theft in crypto that took place around a couple of years ago. This amount was stolen from a victim based in Wiltshire in the UK, and later it turned out that this virtual currency theft has left approximately 4,000 victims (and counting) from all over Europe behind.
Diverse assets and equipment were taken at the suspects’ locales in the Netherlands. Three of the six suspects that are in custody right now are aged nineteen, twenty-one, and twenty-six. The woman in question is the nineteen-year-old.
With these arrests, it is clear that illegal methods of stealing cryptocurrency are ramping up. Last month alone, law enforcement agencies from Europe came together to shut down Bestmixer.io, a cryptocurrency service suspected of laundering more than $200 million.
Authorities have taken hold of a vast number of valuable assets, gear and equipment that have been recovered from the places of these six individuals. All of the searches that occurred before the arrests were in four different homes, a business, and an inboard boat.