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The Secret Service explained that the fraudsters posted fake ads for luxurious items that do not exist on popular online auctions and sales websites.
Compiled statistics by the US Secret Service show that the agency has seized over $102 million in crypto assets since 2015. There have always been scams and fraudulent acts involving crypt assets. However, it has gotten worse and has triggered concerns from both the government and the citizens. To crack down on illegal crypto transactions, the Secret Service has successfully expropriated millions in crypto from criminals. In addition to protecting the presidents, the agency also carries out investigations related to financial and cybercrime.
In an interview with CNBC, the assistant director of investigations at the agency, David Smith, talked about the investigations. The assistant director said that analysts and agents actively track crypto flow on the blockchain. He explained:
“When you follow a digital currency wallet, it’s not different than an email address that has some correlating identifiers. And once a person and another person make a transaction, and that gets into the blockchain, we have the ability to follow that email address or wallet address, if you will, and trace it through the blockchain.”
US Secret Service Seize $102 Million in 254 Fraud Cases
Specifically, the agency statistics reveal that the confiscated crypto was from 254 cases. The agency detailed that some of the crypto cases originated from a Russian cybercrime syndicate. The cybercrime group was involved in money laundering through a crypto exchange. Some cases also targeted a ransomware operation connected to North Korean and Russian criminals. Some US companies tried to stop the attack by sending Bitcoin into the suspect’s crypto wallets.
Additionally, more cases included an investigation involving the Romanian National Police. The event targeted about 900 victims in the US. The Secret Service further explained that the fraudsters posted fake ads for luxurious items that do not exist on popular online auctions and sales websites. The scammers also delivered fake invoices from supposedly top brands to authenticate their scheme. According to the Secret Service, the criminals conducted money laundering by converting the money paid by victims into digital assets.
Speaking further on the use of the crypto for illegal acts, the Secret Service assistant director attested to the fact that people use crypto to move money “at a faster pace than the traditional format.” He added:
“What criminals want to do is sort of muddy the waters and make efforts to obfuscate their activities. What we want to do is to track that as quickly as we can, aggressively as we can, in a linear fashion.”
Another tactic the criminals use is to transfer stolen Bitcoin or other crypto assets into stablecoins. Smith confirmed that the scammers also try to avoid losses caused by market volatility.