A Venezuelan man allegedly faked his own kidnapping in order to steal roughly $1,100,000 worth of Bitcoin from investors.
According to Douglas Rico, national director of the Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas, Penales y Criminalísticas (CICPC), 23-year-old Andrés Jesús Dos Santos Hernández concocted a fake kidnapping to defraud his clients.
Rico says that the alleged fraudster made up a story about being forced to log on to his Binance account and empty his crypto wallets.
“[He] simulated a kidnapping where his captors allegedly forced him to enter the Binance platform and make transfers to different digital wallets, depleting all the crypto assets in question.”
At time of writing, Hernández’s whereabouts are unknown and he is believed to be in possession of 23.66 Bitcoin, or approximately $1,140,350.
According to Venezuelan news outlet Primicia, Hernández is wanted by police for money laundering and fraud. His photo is currently on the CICPC’s Instagram account with a “Wanted” banner.
In June, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported a 1000% increase in crypto-related scams since October of 2019, largely blaming it on the nascent space’s rise in the popularity. FTC program analyst Emma Fletcher said that scammers were taking advantage of new investors excited to get in on the action.
“Some say there’s a Wild West vibe to the crypto culture, and an element of mystery too. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts congregate online to chat about their shared passion. And with Bitcoin’s value soaring in recent months, new investors may be eager to get in on the action. All of this plays right into the hands of scammers. They blend into the scene with claims that can seem plausible because cryptocurrency is unknown territory for many people.”
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Featured Image: Shutterstock/Vlad L