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Suspects Wanted in Bitcoin ATM Double-Spending Scam
14 March 2019, 09:35 | Hattie Nash
Calgary police look to identify 4 suspects in $200k Canada-wide bitcoin fraud
A press release published on the Toronto police website stated that in 2018, four suspects allegedly committed 112 fraudulent transactions in seven Canadian cities.
The Calgary Police Service cybercrime team initiated its investigation in October 2018 when officers received a tip to a major fraud involving transactions that targeted a Canadian Bitcoin company. According to a report in Canadian news publication CBC, just less than half the attacks on Bitcoin ATMs took place in Calgary.
The men allegedly attended bitcoin kiosks, successfully withdrew money, then remotely cancelled their transactions before the bitcoin company processed the withdrawal.
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Calgary police, in collaboration with Ontario and Manitoba authorities, acquired CCTV images featuring the suspects which are thought to "have in-depth knowledge or interest in cryptocurrency, bitcoin and/or blockchain technology". Though the identities of the perpetrators are not now known, the Calgary police are requesting the public's help in identifying them. The cities which fell victim to the attack include Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Sherwood Park, Ottawa and Hamilton.
Each of the four suspects in the Bitcoin ATM fraud is believed to have targeted a different area.
Canadian Bitcoin Core developer Peter Todd's replace-by-fee tools are what made these transactions possible. While not designed for criminal applications, the tool is described by Todd as a means of creating successive transactions to smooth "stuck" transactions.
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The attacks were carried out at a point that the BitcoinATMs accepted zero-confirmation transactions. Further, there is a "double spend" tool that also seems to be at the heart of the transactions. The second double-spends that transaction with a transaction with higher fees, paying only the change address.
Suspect One: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Hamilton. That is why services ask for multiple confirmations for every transaction.
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