The Korea Times


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Cryptocurrency-related crimes on the rise

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By Lee Hyo-jin

The number of crimes related to cryptocurrencies, such as online fraud and hacking, is on the rise amid a virtual currency boom in the country, the National Police Agency said Sunday.

There were 32 cases of cybercrimes involving fraudulent cryptocurrency websites over the last three months alone, a surge from a total of 41 cases that were reported in all of 2020, according to data released by the agency and the Ministry of Science and ICT.

Such fraudulent websites lure cryptocurrency users to log in mainly by sending URL addresses via text messages, and then steal their personal information if they follow the link.

"The number of text messages with false URL addresses that lure people to log into fake virtual currency exchange websites has surged amid an overheating of the crypto market," the police said through a statement, warning that access to such websites may lead to financial losses.

Starting on March 1, police have beefed up monitoring on cybercrimes involving cryptocurrencies to crack down on the hacking of accounts, distribution of malware, cyberattacks on trading platforms, and operation of fraudulent websites.

Law enforcement authorities said they have arrested 147 suspects involved in 114 related cases from March 1 to May 4. They are investigating 21 other cases.

The authorities plan on strengthening 24/7 monitoring in cooperation with the Korea Internet and Security Agency.

In order to prevent people from falling victim to such crimes, police warned cryptocurrency users to strengthen security of their mobile phones, change passwords on a regular basis and ignore suspicious messages with random URL addresses from unknown senders.

Lee Hyo-jin

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