The cybercrime unit of the Turkish police arrested 11 people suspected of violating e-mails, user accounts and cryptocurrency portfolios. The operation was initiated after the forces of the order received a series of complaints from victims who lost digital money.
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Hackers steal $ 80,000 worth of cryptocurrency
According to Turkish media, 14 people have informed the authorities about their compromised cryptocurrency portfolios. The coins were transferred to other portfolios and subsequently sold for fiat. Investigators found that hackers stole "bitcoins worth 437,000 Turkish liras" (over $ 80,000), Daily Sabah reported.
The cybercrime division has identified some of the suspects by tracking a new phone number that used to register on the trading platforms in which they have exchanged the cryptocurrency. Thieves have shifted money through numerous accounts to cover their tracks, the detailed Hürriyet newspaper.
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On 26 October, agents from the unit arrested 11 people at various addresses in Istanbul during joint raids with Polis Özel Harekat, the special operations department of the Turkish police. Currently, 10 of the defendants remain in custody. The police also seized 18 mobile phones and SIM cards, 22 memory sticks, six laptops, three hard drives, a tablet, two driving licenses and a fake ID card.
During the investigation, police officers tracked suspects who were trying to withdraw fiat money from various banks and ATMs. Their attempts were recorded by multiple security cameras. Investigators are also looking for other victims of hackers.
In Turbulent Times, Turks turns to Bitcoin
Turkey, a country of around 80 million people and a regional power, has gone through some difficult times, both in economic and political terms. The country's monetary lira, the lira, has been hit by hyperinflation and has lost ground against the US dollar – its value has fallen by more than 45% in the first seven months of this year.
These developments have convinced many Turks to seek refuge in cryptocurrencies from the lira, but also from the dollar. In August, BTC trade volumes on Turkish peer-to-peer exchanges and platforms such as Localbitcoins increased as a result of rumors that banks in the country could disrupt US dollar support and calls from the government to exit foreign currencies, in particular the US dollar.
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The growing popularity of cryptocurrencies, however, has also caused numerous scams. Many Turks have invested in Turcoin, the so-called "national alternative digital currency" that has been advertised as a "rival of the bitcoin of global virtual currency". Last summer, Turcoin was exposed as a Ponzi scheme after the Istanbul-based company that launched has stopped distributing dividends in June and, according to reports, its founders have fled the country with millions of dollars raised by cheated investors.
At the beginning of this year, the Turkish media reported a number of fake websites of popular hotels in Bodrum, Antalya and other locations. The scammers have blackmailed the owners demanding the ransom in cryptocurrency to close dozens of domains that resemble the names of the hotel brands.
Do you think that the Turkish police will be able to obtain a judicial proceeding in the case of bitcoin theft? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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