Cryptocurrency crime surges in first five months of coronavirus pandemic

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Crypto intelligence company CipherTrace, which started tracking cryptocurrency crime a few years ago, said it has started to see coronavirus-related frauds that require some form of digital currency payment. Losses from cryptocurrency crime including thefts, hacks, and frauds soared to nearly $1.4 billion from the beginning of the year until the end of May, a report from CipherTrace showed. The proportion traced to coronavirus fraud involving cryptocurrencies for the first five months of the year was minimal, CipherTrace said, but it did not give a specific figure. This year’s crypto crime is on track to be the second largest on record after last year’s $4.5 billion in losses. Though the majority of COVID-19-related products advertised on darknet markets did not result in many sales, these markets sold coronavirus phishing kits quite successfully, CipherTrace said.

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