Law enforcement teams in Calgary are spearheading a nation-wide investigation into a suspected Bitcoin fraud ring that made off with nearly $200,000 in a little over a week.
Between Sept. 16 and 26, four men were captured on CCTV cameras making 112 withdrawals from Bitcoin kiosks in seven Canadian cities.
Police say the suspects were committing “double-spend” attacks — a type of fraud where someone withdraws money from a Bitcoin kiosk before remotely cancelling the transaction before the Bitcoin company can process the transaction.
The suspects targeted only one Canadian Bitcoin company, police said, defrauding $195,000 from the cryptocurrency provider.
Fifty-one of these fraudulent double-spends took place in Calgary. Police say 17 transactions were made in Toronto, 27 in Montreal, 13 in Winnipeg, two in Sherwood Park and one in Ottawa.
The CPS Cybercrime Team has been leading a national investigation into the fraudsters since October with assistance from agencies across the country, including the Toronto Police Service, Hamilton Police Service, Winnipeg Police Service and Halton Regional Police Service.
“All four suspects are described as adult males and are believed to have in-depth knowledge or interest in cryptocurrency, Bitcoin … or blockchain technology,” police said in a statement.
Anyone with information on the Bitcoin thefts or the identities of the four suspects is asked to call the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 or by visiting www.calgarycrimestoppers.org.
The Calgary Police Service Cybercrime Team conducts and supports investigations into any crime that is found to have a connection to cyberspace, including fraud, drug trafficking, child exploitation, and missing persons.