Canadian teens charged for impersonating Coinbase support, stole $4.2m in crypto.

A pair of teenagers from Hamilton, Canada, were recently arrested and charged with theft and possession of criminally obtained property after authorities traced $4.2 million in Bitcoin and Ethereum back to them.

The two individuals involved are both seventeen-year-old boys who defrauded a US investor by pretending to be Coinbase customer support.

The authorities identified the scammers as two Canadian boys

According to authorities, the pair conducted a spear phishing attack, a type of scam that targets specific individuals. Regular phishing attacks are more general and target specific groups, such as employees of a particular company.

During spear phishing attacks, the attackers try to present themselves as a trusted source contacting the target about something urgent. Their real goal is to extract information for financial or other benefits.

In this case, the teens posed as Coinbase support to obtain information that would allow them to compromise the victim’s account and cryptocurrency portfolio.

After successfully robbing the US investor, the teens used some of the money to purchase the Instagram handle “@Zombie,” a sought-after username in the gaming community. They also used other aliases, including Felon and Gaze.

The investigation began in June, and the massive amount involved prompted the involvement of the FBI and the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force. Working together, the agencies identified and arrested the culprits.

Further investigation revealed that this was likely not their first successful scam, as the two 17-year-olds had as much as $13.4 million in cryptocurrency.

Authorities are fighting back against the rising crypto crime

The increasing adoption of cryptocurrency means more people are handling it without taking proper security precautions. Even with precautions, incidents of multimillion-dollar crypto thefts occur every month.

In response to this increase, authorities have launched initiatives to stop or identify the culprits. The FBI created a Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit in February, joining forces with the Justice Department’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team.

In June 2023, US authorities established another task force to investigate crypto and darknet crimes in Arizona. The task force consists of five federal enforcement agencies, including Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Arizona, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Office for US Attorneys, the Postal Inspection Service, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

These agencies have been cooperating in Arizona since 2017 and have successfully busted multiple high-profile drug trafficking cases.

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