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Six arrested in UK and Netherlands over £22m cryptocurrency theft

Six people have been arrested over the theft of more than £22m worth of cryptocurrency, police in the UK and Netherlands have said.

Five men and a woman were detained after search warrants were executed at homes in the South West of England, Amsterdam and Rotterdam on Tuesday morning.

The investigation relates to "typosquatting", where a well-known online cryptocurrency exchange is "spoofed" – or recreated to imitate the genuine site – to gain access to victims' bitcoin wallets, stealing their funds and login details.

More than 4,000 victims are believed to have been targeted around the world, according to the South West regional cyber crime unit.

Detective Inspector Louise Boyce said: "The investigation has grown from a single report of £17,000 worth of bitcoin stolen from a Wiltshire-based victim to a current estimate of more than 4,000 victims in at least 12 countries.


"We expect that number to grow."

Ms Boyce said police had seized a "large number of devices, equipment and valuable assets" which will be examined by officers.

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The three arrested men in the South West of England are being held on suspicion of committing computer misuse and money laundering offences.

They are a 33-year-old-man from Charlcombe in Bath, a 30-year-old man from Lower Weston in Bath and a 37-year-old man from Staverton in Wiltshire.

The suspects in the Netherlands – two men and a woman, aged 21, 26 and 29 – were arrested on suspicion of money laundering.

Police have urged anyone who suspects they have been a victim of cryptocurrency theft to contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

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