Suspected crypto thief arrested in Canada after $36 million heist

One crypto thief made a costly

One suspected crypto thief made a costly mistake.

Getty Images

The popularity of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin might be on the rise, but so are crypto crimes. Canadian law enforcement said they caught one suspect who stole millions in cryptocurrency after some of the digital money was used to buy a rare username in a video game. 

Hamilton Police in Ontario, Canada, said the suspect, referred to as a Hamilton youth, stole the $46 million Canadian, or $36 million, in cryptocurrency from one victim via a SIM-swap attack last year, according to a statement from the police Wednesday. A SIM-swap is when someone who knows a password or PIN for a cellphone account contacts the provider and has them change the SIM card from a victim’s phone to one the scammer has access to. This allows the criminal to have full access to a victim’s phones and can bypass any two-factor authentication

The Hamilton Police, working with the FBI, was able to track down the suspect after the Hamilton youth allegedly purchased a rare username for a video game. No specifics were provided on the kind of cryptocurrency stolen, the name of the suspect or the game that led to the arrest. 

Crypto scams continue to grow along with the rise in popularity of cryptocurrency. Those scams include impersonators of Tesla CEO Elon Musk duping people on social media, and pump-and-dump operations designed to increase the value of a crypto coin only to then crater its value, which allows only the organizers to get rich.