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Canadian Police Appeal to Public to Apprehend Bitcoin ATM Fraudsters

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The Toronto Police Service in Canada has announced that they are approaching the public for information on individuals allegedly involved in scandals related to Bitcoin ATMs (BTMs).

Public assistance has been requested by the Calgary Police Service (CPS) Cybercrime Team to identify four culprits, allegedly involved in various fraudulent transactions made within Canada. The culprits targeted only one Canadian Bitcoin firm.

In September 2018, 112 fraudulent transactions at BTMs were made by the suspects. They did transactions from seven different Canadian cities including Hamilton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Sherwood Park, Montreal, and Hamilton, noted the press release.

As per the reports, in October 2018, CPS received initial information regarding the said fraud. “Double-spend” attacks were made by the culprits, believes CPS. In a double spend attack, money is withdrawn from a kiosk and the Bitcoin spend is immediately canceled before the BTM operator processes the withdrawal.

Reportedly, the fraud resulted in huge losses to the company, almost amounting to CAD 195,000 (USD 146,666).

Around USD 1.7 billion in digital assets were obtained by employing illicit means during 2018, noted recent research published in January by CipherTrace, a crypto analytics company.  Over USD 950 million out of those were obtained by hacking crypto exchanges. The said amount was 3.6 times lower in 2017.  Exit schemes, Ponzi schemes, and fraudulent initial coin offerings resulted in a loss of USD 725 million during the last year.

However, analytics company Chainalysis maintained that overall digital currency-related crime rate has decreased over a couple of years. Crime or fraud accounted for only 1% of all Bitcoin transactions in 2018. According to the report, usage of decentralized platforms and efforts to launder money through blockchain technology will increase during 2019.


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