UK Police Tracks Bitcoin Records in Biggest Scam Leading to Arrest of 100 People

UTC by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
UK Police Tracks Bitcoin Records in Biggest Scam Leading to Arrest of 100 People
Photo: Unsplash

During their 20-month operations, criminals of the iSpoof website stole a total of £3.2 million ($3.9 million) from users.

London’s Metropolitan Police has recently unearthed “the UK’s biggest ever fraud operation” associated with the fraud website iSpoof. As per reports from the police, nearly 200,000 users in Britain alone have fallen victim to this scam. The London police have made 100 arrests so far in this matter.

Police Investigating Crypto Scam

As per the investigation, iSpoof allowed scammers to pose as officials from some of the top British banks including Barclays, HSBC, Santander, First Direct, Llyods, Halifax, Nationwide, Natwest, and TSB. The police report shows that criminals paid for the service in Bitcoin.

To catch these scammers, Scotland Yard’s Cyber Crime Unit worked along with authorities in the US and Ukraine, in international cooperation. The authorities then took down the iSpoof website in less than a week.

As per the Metropolitan Police, during the 20-month period of operation of the iSpoof website, the criminals earned a total of £3.2 million ($3.9 million). The Cyber Crime Unit of Scotland Yard started investigating iSpoof last year in June 2021. During their investigation, they were able to trade Bitcoin records.

As per the report, there were nearly 60,000 users on iSpoof. They further narrowed it down to UK users who spent at least £100 worth of BTC on the website. In a police statement, Commissioner Mark Rowley said:

“The exploitation of technology by organized criminals is one of the greatest challenges for law enforcement in the 21st century”.

The UK arrests might also follow up in a list of other countries. The London Metropolitan Police has handed over the list of suspects to the Netherlands, Australia, France, and Ireland.

UK Lawmakers Vote for Crypto Rules

In another development, lawmakers in the United Kingdom voted in favor of new rules which will make it easier for the UK’s law enforcement agencies to seize cryptocurrencies linked to terrorist activities.

These new rules come into action through amendments to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency bill. Besides, the amendments will now give power to local enforcement agencies to “seize, freeze, and recover” digital assets tied to a crime. The second reading of the bill calls to mirror these measures in the country’s existing counter-terrorism measures. Tom Tugendhat, the minister of state responsible for crime and terrorism regulation said:

“This addresses a gap in current counterterrorism legislation”. The counterterrorism legislation will “importantly mitigate the risk posed by those that cannot be prosecuted under the criminal system, but use their proceeds stored as crypto assets to perpetrate further criminality.”

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