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Daily fraud update: 22nd January

Denise Jacksone

Canadian teen hit with SIM swap scam allegations

A teenager from Canada has been accused of carrying out a scam which caused losses of around $50m.

Samy Bensaci, from Montreal in the Canadian province of Quebec, is accused of executing the alleged fraud by using what is known as a “SIM swap” method.

In a SIM swap, the fraudster manages to gain illicit access to victims’ mobile phones and then uses that access to raid their cryptocurrency storage wallets.

Bensaci’s age is significant, as he is just 18 years old.

It is alleged that Bensaci carried out the crime during 2018, although he was not taken into custody until late last year.

He was arrested in Victoria in the west of Canada and is now on $200,000 bail with his family in Montreal.

He was charged with various crimes, including both identity fraud and fraud of over $5,000 – and was also hit with a charge of unauthorised access to data.

His alleged victims are believed to include people both from Canada and from the nearby USA.

His alleged Canadian victims include Don Tapscott, who leads the Blockchain Research Institute, and Tapscott’s son Alex – who also works in the crypto field.

According to Lieutenant Hugo Fournier, who was speaking on behalf of the Canadian police, the crime ring in which Bensaci’s is involved has stolen “$50 million from our neighbours to the south and $300,000 in Canada”.

Swedish police get lessons in Bitcoin

Police in Sweden were given a lesson in cryptocurrency recently thanks to employees from the exchange BTCX.

Regional police organizations from across the Scandinavian country were in attendance at the event, which took place at the national headquarters of the overarching Swedish Police Authority.

It was part of a regular monthly meet for the National Centre for Fraud Prevention, and it took place on 16th January.

One particular highlight for those who watch the crypto fraud sphere closely was a presentation on crypto compliance from BTCX employee David Söderberg.

The decision to host the event with BTCX comes as part of a concerted push by many in law enforcement in Sweden and beyond to ensure that they are properly educated about cryptocurrency – and the risk it can pose in terms of scams and fraud.

Various employees at BTCX commented positively on the day.

Oskar Söderström said that he was very pleased with the level of “cooperation”.

“We’re very happy with how our cooperation with the Police Authority has worked through the years”, he said.

“BTCX is working hard to make sure that our exchange platform is free from any sort of crime and we intervene as soon as we suspect any irregularities.”

Christoffer De Geer, who is COO at BTCX, added that he was happy for other law enforcement agencies to get in touch if they so wished.

“It is an essential part of our work to make Bitcoin more accessible and usable for the entire Swedish people. All the authorities interested in similar education are very welcome to contact us”, he added.


Denise Jacksone

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