European law enforcement agency Europol said in a press release Wednesday that six individuals have now been arrested over the scam in an operation that also involved the UK’s South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit and National Crime Agency, along with Dutch police and Eurojust.
A fake exchange website has managed to steal €24 million (over $27 million) in cryptocurrency from thousands of victims.
Five men and one woman were simultaneously arrested yesterday at their homes in several U.K. locations, as well as Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
Europol said the criminal endeavor involved a “typosquatting” scam in which a “well-known” (but unnamed) online crypto exchange was cloned in order to gain access to victims’ crypto wallet login details and steal funds.
All in, the scam is thought to have led to at least 4,000 victims in 12 countries losing bitcoin to the scam, though Europol says the number of known victims are still growing.
The case was initially referred to the European Cybercrime Centre and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce at Europol after U.K. authorities identified possible suspects living in the Netherlands.
Operational meetings organised at Europol’s headquarters between the U.K. and Dutch authorities allowed for the “smooth exchange of intelligence and evidence which led to these successful arrests”, according to the release.