Exclusive: Thousands of pounds stolen in cases seen by the Guardian in reports from City of London police
Thieves are targeting digital currency investors on the street in a wave of “crypto muggings”, police have warned, with victims reporting that thousands of pounds have been stolen after their mobile phones were seized. Anonymised crime reports provided to the Guardian by City of London police, as part of a freedom of information request, reveal criminals are combining physical muscle with digital knowhow to part people from their cryptocurrency.
One victim reported they had been trying to order an Uber near London’s Liverpool Street station when muggers forced them to hand over their phone. While the gang eventually gave the phone back, the victim later realised that £5,000-worth of ethereum digital currency was missing from their account with the crypto investing platform Coinbase.
In another case, a man was approached by a group of people offering to sell him cocaine and agreed to go down an alley with them to do the deal. The men offered to type a number into his phone but instead accessed his cryptocurrency account, holding him against a wall and forcing him to unlock a smartphone app with facial verification. They transferred £6,000-worth of ripple, another digital currency, out of his account.