Two teenagers from Canada have been apprehended and charged in connection with a cryptocurrency theft amounting to $4.2 million.
According to reports on July 4, the accused individuals posed as Coinbase support. They managed to gain unauthorized access to a victim’s exchange account, resulting in the theft of $4.2 million of bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH).
The perpetrators, known by their online pseudonyms “Felon” and “Gaze,” employed a sophisticated spear phishing technique to target a specific individual and manipulate them into revealing their account details. Const. Krista-Lee Ernst, a police officer from Hamilton, Ontario, described the method used by the culprits as a concerning trend in cybercrime.
While the recent theft amounted to $4 million, it has been revealed that the teenagers had control over a staggering total of $13.4 million in various cryptocurrencies.
Some of the stolen funds were allegedly utilized to purchase a social media account, specifically the highly sought-after Instagram handle “@zombie.”
The identities of the accused minors have not been disclosed due to legal considerations. However, their arrest and subsequent charging with theft over $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime highlight the severity of their actions.
Significantly, the investigation into this case involved the cooperation of major U.S. criminal authorities alongside local Canadian police. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the U.S. Secret Service’s Electronic Crimes Task Force (ECTF) played pivotal roles in initiating and advancing the inquiry since June 2023. It has also come to light that the victim of this theft is a U.S. citizen.
Scammers continue to exploit Coinbase’s reputation
Coinbase, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange, has been frequently targeted by scammers due to its reputation and large user base. The company has proactively addressed such issues and previously acknowledged a widespread phishing attack in 2021.
During that incident, approximately 6,000 users fell victim to scams, resulting in stolen funds between March and May. Coinbase took responsibility for the situation and pledged to reimburse the affected users for their losses.
In 2022, Coinbase faced further scrutiny when a group of investors filed a complaint, alleging that the company had not implemented sufficient measures to prevent scams. Nevertheless, Coinbase has taken steps to educate its users about identifying and avoiding phishing scams, maintaining a dedicated page for this purpose.