European cops have cuffed six people for typosquatting – in this case spoofing a well known cryptocurrency exchange – and allegedly making off with €24m worth of Bitcoin tokens.
The arrest is the culmination of a 14-month joint investigation between Britain's South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit and the National Crime Agency, Dutch fuzz and Europol.
The suspects, five men and one woman, were collared at their homes in Charlcombe, Lower Weston and Staverton in the UK and Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
The €24m that the group are believed to have amassed is understood to have been defrauded from roughly 4,000 unsuspecting individuals in 12 countries, though Europol said the numbers are continuing to grow.
British police began the initial probe but referred the case to the European Cyber Crime Centre and the Joint Action Taskforce, hosted at Europol, after several of the crims were confirmed as living in the Netherlands, and action was co-ordinated.
The typosquatting fraudsters produced a site that imitated a genuine site to gain entry to their crypto-casualties' Bitcoin wallets to free them of those lovely funds and their login details.
Bitcoin is now valued at more than £9,000 per unit, making it an attractive target for crims. Not a month goes by without some allegations of crypto-related scams appearing in the hallowed pages of The Reg.
In May, OneCoin, set up and run by self-appointed "CryptoQueen" Ruja Ignatova, was slapped with a fraud lawsuit and this week, Gerald Cotten, the late CEO of a Canadian crypto exchange, was found by Ernst & Young auditors to have set up fake accounts containing bogus funds on his site and was alleged to have used them buy his customers' currencies. ®