Two seventeen-year-old boys from Hamilton, Canada, have been arrested and charged with theft and possession of criminally-obtained property.
The two allegedly defrauded a U.S. man of $4.2 million in and in a scam known as a “spear phishing” attack.
Spear phishing is a type of phishing attack that targets individuals, as opposed to phishing, which targets the masses. A spear-phishing attack presents itself as a communication from a trusted source asking the victim for information that can be used to compromise their accounts.
In this case, the boys pretended to be Coinbase Support to hijack their victim’s crypto portfolio.
Some of the stolen money was reportedly used to purchase the Instagram handle “@Zombie,” a sought-after username among gamers. The teens also used the aliases “Gaze” and “Felon.”
According to a local report, the investigation began last month and was coordinated by the FBI and the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force.
When the boys were arrested, they had $13.4 million in cryptocurrency.
Interagency cooperation tackles crypto crime
With stories of multimillion-dollar crypto heists seemingly hitting the press every month, it goes without saying that the more crypto grows, the more crypto-related crimes proliferate.
Recently, a couple of high-profile interagency cooperation initiatives have been formalized.
In February, the FBI formed a Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit to work with the Justice Department’s National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, which was established in 2021 to focus on crypto-related crime.
Just last month, a new U.S. task force comprising five federal enforcement agencies that regularly collaborate to investigate crypto and darknet crimes in Arizona was established through the joint signing of a memorandum of understanding.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Arizona, the Office for U.S. Attorneys, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Postal Inspection Service have cooperated informally in the state since 2017 and together have busted a number of high-profile drug trafficking cases.