Police Seize 48 BTC from 16-Year-Old Kid Who Ran Copycat Website of ‘Love2Shop’

October 28, 2021, 9:30 AM AEST - 1 month ago

Police in the Midlands county of Lincolnshire in the UK have seized US$2.9 million in bitcoin from a 16-year-old boy who scammed thousands of victims after extracting their personal details via a copycat website.

Just as Covid lockdown restrictions were imposed in Britain last year, the teenager launched a fraudulent copy of Love2Shop, a gift voucher platform. He then used Google Advertising to heighten the website’s profile, prompting unsuspecting consumers to visit his page instead.

Victims Numbered At Least 12,000

From here, many victims unwittingly entered their email addresses and passwords, enabling thefts to take place. A police investigation uncovered more than 12,000 credit card numbers on the teenager’s computer, as well as 197 PayPal accounts.

In the meantime, his fake vouchers had spread far and wide, as police issued warnings to retailers to be on the lookout for them:

The court was told the teenager took the site down after a week, just as Love2Shop began investigating following a complaint from a customer.

Ill-Gotten Gains Sunk into 48 Bitcoin

The scammer, who cannot be named due to his legal status as a minor, had invested much of his ill-gotten gains into cryptocurrency, and detectives were stunned to discover he had a balance of 48 bitcoin, worth almost US$3 million at the time of writing.

The teenager, currently studying for his final school exams, admitted to charges of money laundering and fraud committed in April 2020. He was sentenced to 150 hours of community service with no conviction recorded, and a confiscation order was imposed on his crypto.

In a masterful example of stating the glaringly obvious, Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight told the defendant: “You have a long-standing interest in computers. Unfortunately, you used your skills to commit a sophisticated fraud.”

Later, she said: “If he was an adult he would be going inside.”

In August, Crypto News Australia reported on how fake crypto trading websites were proliferating in Australia.

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