Digital asset investors residing in London are currently facing threats to the security of their holdings as a new wave of “crypto mugging” surfaces.
Muggers are targeting crypto investors
According to recent coverage by the Guardian, London police have received countless anonymous reports of victims losing huge sums of money in crypto after their phones had been forcefully seized by muggers.
Armed with the knowledge that crypto transactions are irreversible, unlike bank transfers, the thieves target unsuspecting digital asset investors on the street and steal funds from their digital wallets after forcing them to hand over their phones.
In one of the reports, the victim was trying to order an Uber when muggers forced them to hand over their phone. Although the gang eventually returned the phone, the victim found out that £5,000 (approximately $6,170) worth of ETH was missing from their Coinbase account.
Another victim told police that his phone and cards were pickpocketed after an evening at a pub. He later discovered that about £10,000 ($12,300) worth of crypto was stolen from his CryptoCom account. The victim pointed out that he had logged into his crypto wallet account while at the pub and figured the thieves had seen his type in his account pin.
UK police receiving more training
Speaking on the matter, Phil Ariss, head of the cryptocurrency team for the National Police Chiefs’ Council cybercrime program, said that police officers are currently receiving more training on how to identify a variety of crypto-related crimes.
Ariss further urged the public to be cautious when accessing their crypto wallets, especially in public spaces. He said, “You wouldn’t walk down the street holding £50 notes and counting them. That should apply to people with crypto assets.”
David Gerard, the author of Attack on the 50 Foot Blockchain, also emphasized that these crimes are increasing because of how some people handle their digital assets. He pointed out that they do not handle it the same way they do other assets, including cash.
“People keep stupid amounts of money on account in crypto. They don’t think it’s money somehow,” he said.