Two Canadian scammers stole a fortune in SegWitCoin (BTC) from an unsuspecting crypto trader, and now they’re in big trouble for it. KPTV reports the men, originally from Surrey, British Columbia, face multiple counts after being caught defrauding an Oregon woman out of $233,220
Karanjit Singh Khatkar, 23, and Jagroop Singh Khatkar, 24, committed their scam at the height of the crypto market, between October 2017 and August 2018. They created a Twitter account to impersonate the customer service presence of HitBTC, a Hong Kong based exchange. Using the handle @HitBTCAssist, their aim was to trick victims into providing sensitive details they could use to steal digital assets.
The scheme paid off when an Oregon woman inquired how she could withdraw her BTC. By phishing for her account details, they managed to gain access to her personal email address, HitBTC account and Kraken account.
In total, they stole 23.2 BTC. They then split that amount, with Karanjit keeping 11.6 BTC in his Kraken account, and transferring the rest to Jagroop’s Kraken account.
The law is on to them now though. Karanjit was caught on July 18 in Las Vegas, arrested as he was arriving at McCarran International Airport. He was sent back to Oregon, where was locked up in Multnomah County Jail on August 8. He’s scheduled to begin facing his crimes on October 8.
At the moment, Jagroop is still a fugitive, and the FBI notes that he’s believed to be in Canada. They also outline the charges against the two:
Karanjit and Jagroop Khatkar face one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, five counts of wire fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft and multiple counts of money laundering.
This is a lesson that transcends crypto and extends to all internet accounts, and especially those that control your money. Don’t blindly trust someone offering to help you with your account; verify they are authorized agents of the company you’ve invested with.
This is reminiscent of another recent scam, where fake IRS letters were sent out to potential marks. Those scammers were savvy enough to use publically available tax data to threaten citizens with debts and to demand payment in crypto. In that case, the IRS advised to simply call them to verify if any correspondence was legit: a wise move.
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