Autonomous NEXT and Crypto Aware, a financial research firm that collaborates with victims of crypto scams, estimated that about $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrencies, were stolen between 2012 and the first half of 2018. The data also reveals that over $800 million has already been stolen this year. Per the research, approximately 85% of crimes are never even reported.
Alluding to the unique nature of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets and the peculiar security problems they pose Patrick Wyman, the supervisory special agent in the financial crimes section of the FBI anti-money laundering unit, said:
“A decentralized currency system like bitcoin or another form of virtual currency is not governed by any entity, suspicious reporting activity, and any anti-money laundering compliance.”
If you’re ever so unfortunate as to become the victim of a bitcoin theft, there’s very little chance that you will ever see your cryptocurrency assets again.
For this reason, security experts have suggested that only a fraction of these cases ever get reported, as victims believe they are not likely to retrieve stolen cryptocurrency. Reuters reports that the unique nature of cryptocurrencies has created a double-edged sword where investors do not expect criminals to be caught after successful crypto heists, and cybercriminals are turning to crypto in larger numbers, driven by the perception that it offers them complete insulation from the law.
Moreover, the targets are just large cryptocurrency exchanges. It was reported that the U.S. entrepreneur and cryptocurrency investor Michael Terpin had $24 million in crypto stolen from his mobile wallet by sim hackers, causing him to him file a $224 million suit against his service provider AT&T, who denied responsibility.
Just this week, a 24-year-old Norwegian bitcoin investor was murdered shortly after exchanging a large amount of cryptocurrency for cash. According to reports, the perpetrator may have been after those proceeds, which he was keeping in his apartment.