A $22 million cryptocurrency scam has been discovered in the UK, including victims from all around the world
Following the discovery of a multinational fraud conspiracy, the UK authorities seized cryptocurrency worth $22.2 million (approximately Rs. 165 crores). They discovered USB drives with substantial amounts of Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin. The scheme, according to the Greater Manchester Police (GMP), defrauded people from the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, China, Australia, and Hong Kong. The victims contributed money, some even their entire life savings, believing Binance Smart Chain to be a legitimate saving and trading service. Two people were detained on suspicion of fraud and money laundering, but they were freed pending further investigation.
The finding has brought to light the virtual currency’s anonymous and multinational character. Anonymity is frequently used by criminals to launder money, as well as for terrorism, tax fraud, and drug trafficking. While the majority of bitcoin transactions are legitimate, there are a significant number of scams.
The recovered USB sticks included a total of $9.5 million (approximately Rs. 70.6 crores) in stolen Ethereum, according to GMP’s Economic Crime Unit. After discovering an online safe (a cryptograph safety deposit box) and its access code a few days later, the authorities discovered another $12.7 million (approximately Rs. 94.4 crores).
The GMP stated that they have initiated the process of discovering the legitimate owners, some of whom are still unknown and scattered around the globe, and reuniting them with their funds.
One of the fraud victims, who requested anonymity, informed the authorities that he had been using cryptocurrencies for years. “At first, the hack astonished us,” he added, thanking the cops for finding down the funds.
According to GMP, the victim will now receive 90% of his investment back, with the remainder of the monies remaining unclaimed.
People are rapidly going online, according to Economic Crime Unit Detective Chief Inspector Joe Harrop, who sees cryptocurrencies as the future of money and business. However, this transition is resulting in a new sort of crime, with opportunistic criminals attempting to take advantage of these trends as well as any technological holes. According to Harrop, policing must likewise adapt to this new sort of crime.