$3.3M Worth of Crypto Nicked by Call of Duty Criminal Ring

A group of Call of Duty players allegedly masterminded a scheme that allowed them to steal over $3 million in cryptocurrencies.

Several tech-savvy Call of Duty gamers created a criminal ring while playing the popular online game. Before the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) gave pursuit, they managed to get away with at least $3.3 million worth of cryptocurrency by accessing crypto wallets via victims' cell phones, the Chicago Sun-Times reports, citing unsealed court documents.

In December 2016, San Francisco-based online predictions platform Augur alerted the FBI that its employees and investors had fallen victims to cryptocurrency hackers. The platform allows users to make predictions on anything they like, from sporting events to natural disasters and even political assassination. Users make bets with Augur's native cryptocurrency called the Reputation Token.

According to the FBI affidavit, the suspects stole at least $3.3 million in different coins, including $805,000 worth of Reputation Tokens, by transferring them from the compromised cryptocurrency wallets to their own accounts through various networks, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

FBI agents managed to track down several suspects and raided the homes of two ring members in Dolton and Bloomington. They seized computers and cell phones and got hold of transcripts of online communications between the hackers. The investigators said the gang had hacked over 100 phones, but the suspects claimed the number was far lower.

The man arrested in Bloomington gave the FBI details about the ring, saying he had met the gang members while playing Call of Duty. He claimed they forced him to participate by threatening to “SWAT” him - a popular tactic of bullying people by calling the police to their home with a fake report of a crime taking place.

The Bloomington resident considers himself a victim dragged into illegal activities under duress.

“I have done nothing but cooperate with Augur and the FBI.  I have never once profited from anyone [by] crypto-hacking, ever,” he said in an interview with the Sun-Times.

He received names, phone numbers and other information about the victims from the ring members and hacked their devices to access their cryptocurrency accounts.

The FBI is yet to file formal criminal charges against the suspects.

According to a Carbon Black report, hackers stole over $1.1 billion worth of digital assets in the six months to June 2018.

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