In a recent event known as “Crypto Muggings”, thieves now have digital currency investors as their target. With people, who are now victims, reporting cases of missing pounds, suspected to have been stolen after their phones were seized, police have now issued a warning.
The crime report was provided to the Guardian based on anonymity, by the City of London Police, as part of the request for freedom of information, criminals are now making use of both physical strength and digital knowledge to steal from people and also rip them off.
Narrating his ordeal, a victim said they were trying to order uber around London Liverpool when a gang accosted them and asked them to surrender their phones. Although the phones were returned to them eventually, the victim found out that about Euro 5,000 worth of Ethereum was lost from his wallet.
In another scenario, a man was approached by some people, who approached him with a cocaine deal, he moved into an area with them to bargain and deal, and while one of the men offered to give him a number, he instead accessed the victim’s cryptocurrency wallet, forcing the victim to unlock the smartphone by pinning him to the wall, a whooping worth of 6,000-Euro, the digital currency was transferred from his account.
A third victim narrating his own experience said he was vomiting under a bridge when he was accosted, and forced to unlock the device with a fingerprint. The mugger changed his security settings and stole 28,700 Euro, cryptocurrency inclusive.
In another report, the victim had his cards and wallets stolen at a pub, 10,000 Euro was eventually stolen from his account with the investing platform, crypto.com. It was believed that the thieves probably saw the victim when he was typing his account pin earlier in the pub.
Unlike bank transfers, cryptocurrency transfers are irreversible, making them more attractive and gainful for thieves.
David Gerard, the author of Attack on 50-foot Blockchain, a book on digital currencies said the risks are more now because the way people handle their investments on devices like the smartphone does not handle the investments the way they will handle cash normally.
A 23-year veteran of the FBI who now works with chain analysis as a public sector chief technology officer said the nature of cryptocurrency, in theory, that is, transactions being logged on the blockchain should enable police to track stolen crypto.
In his statement, he said he created a digital paper trail that can be used by investigators to track hacks worth multi-million dollar crypto. He however added that based on resources, they might not be able to pursue smaller crimes.
Phil Ariss, who leads the cryptocurrency team on National Police Chiefs’ council cybercrime programme said police officers are being trained to combat various crypto-related crimes. The police are also looking at a way of informing the public on how to access their crypto accounts with caution.