Canadian Teens Accused of Stealing $4 Million in Crypto
In a recent incident, two Canadian teenagers have been apprehended and charged for allegedly stealing $4.2 million in cryptocurrency. The pair posed as Coinbase support and gained unauthorized access to a victim’s exchange account, using spear phishing techniques.
The accused teenagers stole a significant amount in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) by impersonating Coinbase support. They targeted a specific individual and manipulated them into revealing their account details. The recent theft amounted to $4 million, but it has been reported that the teenagers had control over a total of $13.4 million in cryptocurrency.
Const. Krista-Lee Ernst, a police officer from Hamilton, Ontario, described the method used by the criminals as spear phishing. This technique involves targeting an individual and manipulating them into revealing personal information such as passwords or other sensitive account details.
Arrest and Charges
While the identities of the teenagers remain undisclosed, it is known that they used the pseudonyms “Felon” and “Gaze.” The stolen funds were reportedly used to purchase a social media account, specifically the Instagram handle “@zombie.” The teenagers have been arrested and charged with theft over $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime.
Although the case was reported by local Canadian police, major U.S. criminal authorities played a significant role in the investigation. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the U.S. Secret Service’s Electronic Crimes Task Force (ECTF) initiated the investigation in June 2023. The victim of the theft is reported to be a U.S. citizen.
Impersonation of Coinbase
Coinbase, being a major cryptocurrency exchange, is frequently impersonated by scammers. In 2021, Coinbase acknowledged a widespread phishing attack that resulted in the theft of funds from 6,000 users between March and May. Coinbase pledged to reimburse the losses incurred during this period.
Last year, a group of investors filed a complaint against Coinbase, alleging that the company failed to take adequate measures to prevent scams.
To educate users and help them identify and avoid phishing scams, Coinbase maintains a dedicated page providing information on how to stay safe and protect their accounts.
The theft of $4.2 million in cryptocurrency by two Canadian teenagers highlights the importance of vigilance and caution when dealing with digital assets. Impersonation scams are a common occurrence in the cryptocurrency space, and it is crucial for users to be aware of the techniques used by criminals and take necessary measures to protect their accounts. Cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase also play a significant role in educating their users and implementing robust security measures to prevent such incidents in the future.