A joint operation between the Seoul police cyber crimes division and the FBI took place to bust a phishing scam that stole more than $80 million worth of XRP from a dozen South Korean and Japanese cryptocurrency investors
According to a Korean news report, two people were arrested for the crime, one software developer and the other was his employer.
To create a pseudo-Ripple exchange website, the employer hired a 42-year-old programmer. He then sent emails to South Korean and Japanese XRP investors, claiming their funds to be frozen. The link on the mail directed them towards the phishing site and they were asked to enter their username and password. It is believed that the FBI got involved since Ripple is an American cryptocurrency. The victims consisted of 24 Koreans and 37 Japanese.
As reported by a local news, Joongang Ilbo, the suspect claims to have spent the entire cryptocurrency holdings and money, to pay for accommodation in a luxury apartment complex and to live a luxury lifestyle.
Since cryptocurrency does not have any monetary value in South Korea, it was indicated to the victims that it would be difficult to receive compensation for their losses.
Similar crime in 2014
The mastermind had fallen prey in 2014 to a similar scam by losing all that he had invested back then. During that hack, the hackers easily got away as the investigation failed to give results. This made the software developer commit similar crimes.
Most of the government-licensed cryptocurrency exchange platforms are not providing sufficient protection against phishing scams.
As the programmer was found guilty, he also revealed that he had an accomplice which was a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange operator who provided him with user data such as email accounts, affiliated exchanges, and 2FA status. Since the Japanese exchange is believed to still be in Japan at this time, the Seoul cybercrime division is trying to get in touch with Japanese authorities.
Image via Shutterstock
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