$27 million crypto exchange scam, six arrests made in UK & Netherlands

29 Jun, 2019 | Updated: 29 Jun, 2019
by David Robb
News
$27 million crypto exchange scam, six arrests made in UK & Netherlands

Six arrests have been made in the UK and the Netherlands, linked to a scam that made around 24 million Euros ($27 million). The perpetrators apparently created a fake cryptocurrency exchange to defraud users out of their money.

Europol reports that warrants were obtained for the detainment of five men and one woman, at their respective homes in Charlcombe, Lower Weston and Staverton in the UK, as well as in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The arrests were made after an investigation that lasted around 14 months. It was a joint operation between the UK’s South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit (SW RCCU), Europol, Eurojust, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), and Dutch police.

At least 4,000 people were affected by the scam, in as many as 12 different countries. They were affected by a phishing scam known as 'typosquatting', where a replica version of a popular site is created in order to fool unsuspecting visitors and get their login details. In this case, it was Blockchain.com, the popular crypto trading platform. A representative for the company told the South West Police Regional Organised Crime Unit that "Copycat websites are unfortunately far too common in the burgeoning cryptocurrency ecosystem. We are thankful for the SW RCCU's efforts in policing bad actors and urge those with information to assist in their investigation".

The case was opened after a UK resident reported that around £12,000 worth of Bitcoin had been stolen from his BTC wallet. The scam apparently started back in June 2017. UK police eventually reached out to the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT), hosted at Europol, after identifying possible suspects living in the Netherlands.

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