A group of criminals may have stolen more than 100 million dollars (82 million euros) in cryptocurrencies last year. Introduce to Internet celebrities, top athletes, musicians, and their families. Europol reported that nine were arrested on Tuesday, after two suspects had already been arrested in Belgium and Malta.
The perpetrators were allowed illegal access to their victims’ phones. This allowed them to steal cryptocurrency and personal information. They also took over their victims’ social media accounts. Criminals have used a technique known as “simulated swap”. Someone’s phone number is hijacked, for example by misleading the victim’s phone company over the phone.
According to Europol, the investigation of criminals has been ongoing since the spring of 2020. Police forces from Belgium, Malta, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada have participated in this. Europol, a partnership based in The Hague, played a coordinating role. In the end, investigators tracked down a network of dozens of criminals. In the past year they were expecting “thousands of victims”.