Turkish authorities have arrested 21 people for allegedly defrauding 35 unsuspecting victims up to the tune of 450,000 Turkish Lira ($59,397) and using the fund to purchase bitcoin (BTC).
Local news outlet Sozcu reports today that the suspects sent out text messages, asking the victims to download and install an app, in order to receive 1,000 Turkish Lira ($132) coronavirus (COVID-19) relief funds from the Turkish government.
“Download, install, and upload [to receive] 1000 TL support from the state [government],” excerpts of the text reads.
Part of the registration process required the victims to provide their bank account details before they could receive the COVID-19 relief funds. However, instead of receiving the funds, the victims’ money was stolen from various banks, which amounted to 450,000 Lira.
Investigations into the sudden disappearance of people’s funds commenced immediately after the Provincial Directorate of Security, Department of Combating Cyber Crimes was notified of the incident.
The security agency revealed that the suspects bought BTC with the stolen funds to avoid being caught. According to the report, a special manhunt was launched, leading to the arrest of 21 people across four cities, including Bursa, Istanbul, Diyarbakır, and Samsun.
Massive Clampdown On Crypto-related Illicit Operations
With the development, it is clear that the days of hiding under the anonymous feature of cryptocurrencies to conduct illicit activities are over, as law enforcement agents have beefed up security to combat these crimes.
The number of arrests of criminals using cryptocurrencies to hide their operations from the law has increased of late.
In recent times, crypto-related firms have joined forces with security agents to clamp down on criminal activities, to keep the crypto space safe.
In August, Coinfomania reported that leading cryptocurrency intelligence company CipherTrace collaborated with the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a tool that will track illicit operations involving Monero (XMR).
The partnership was birthed as a result of the increased use of Monero by criminals to perpetrate malicious activities.
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