Europol said in a Wednesday press release that it has finally arrested six people (five men and one woman) alleged to be behind a €24 million (appr. $27 million) cryptocurrency theft.
The accused individuals as per the update were simultaneously arrested at their homes in different European cities following a collaboration between Europol, Eurojust, the U.K South West Regional Crime Unit (SW RCCU), and the U.K National Crime Agency.
Investigations into the case have also lasted for 14-months, likely revealed that the theft happened near the 2017/18 Bitcoin bull market.
The Nature of the Crime
Europol, in its press release, revealed that the accused persons used a method known as ‘typosquatting,’ or creating a cloned version of a website.
In this case, the alleged criminals created a website that resembled that of a well-known online cryptocurrency exchange.
Their objective was to get users to enter their genuine login details on the fake site, after which they used the collected data to visit the crypto exchange and withdraw Bitcoins belonging to victims.
So far, Europol revealed that at least 4000 victims from 12 different countries fell victim to the ploy with the number still growing.
Europol Crypto Successes
Interestingly, the latest arrests by Europol marks a fourth successful operation carried out by the enforcement agency to catch crypto criminals.
On the other three occasions, we reported that Europol shutdown a cryptocurrency mixing website, recovered a six-figure worth of crypto from a dark web market place, and also arrested a 36-year old British man behind an $11 million crypto theft in 2018.
More recently, the enforcement agency announced that it was developing a video game that would teach officials how to investigate cases of crypto-theft.