Young Australian Woman Arrested Over Alleged Theft of Over 100,000 XRP

Siamak Masnavi

On Thursday (25 October 2018), according to a report in media outlet "news.com.ua", police in the state of New South Wales in Australia arrested a 23-year-old woman from Sydney over the alleged theft of 100,000 XRP tokens.

It seems that detectives from the State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad set up a task force back in January to investigate the reported theft of 100,000 XRP tokens from a 56-year-old man. The investigators were told by the alleged victim that he was locked out of his email account for two days in mid-January; however, he thinks that his email account got hacked in December 2017. After he managed to eventually get back control of his email account, he noticed some suspicious activity involving his cryptocurrency account, and when he checked this wallet, he found that almost all of the crypto there had disappeared.

However, after an approximately ten-month investigation, earlier today (around 8am local time), the detectives used a search warrant to get access to the young woman's home, arrested her, and took her to Ryde (a suburb of Sydney) Police station, where they charged her with "knowingly deal with proceeds of crime." 

The police are alleging that the woman (possibility with the help of others) took over the man's email account, changed his password, thereby locking him account, and then set up two factor authentication using a mobile phone number. It is further alleged that she then accessed his crypto account, and transferred over 100,000 XRP tokens to a crypto exchange in China, where this XRP was converted to bitcoin.

She was released "strict conditional bail", and is set to appear before Burwood Local Court on 19 November 2018.

Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, warned the local community to set up multi-factor authentication on their accounts to make this type of crime more difficult.

In a statement, he said:

“An email account is more valuable than people realise — scammers are increasingly targeting emails as they link the individual to financial accounts and other personal information... There is often valuable information saved in sent items or the trash, and scammers will look for anything that will assist in taking over your identity or accessing your finances. This is the modern equivalent of digging through a household rubbish bin or stealing mail... Just as we were taught to shred documents and lock our mailboxes, the lesson is now ensuring that email accounts containing personal information and are linked to financial accounts have a minimum of two-factor authentication... Your personal information is an extremely valuable commodity to criminals and needs be treated and secured as you would cash.”

Police say the investigation continues.

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