A Teenager Used Google Ads To Scam $3 Million In Bitcoin

A UK teen has been convicted for setting up a phishing site and using Google Ads to scam shoppers. His scam earned him almost $3 million in Bitcoin.

A teenager in the UK has been convicted of setting up a phishing site and using Google Ads to scam shoppers. Cybercrime has been increasing throughout the pandemic and phishing has emerged as one of the most persistent problems that law enforcement around the world are trying to cope with. Cryptocurrency scams and ransomware attacks have also been on the rise, with numerous cases coming to light in recent times.

One of the most prominent ransomware attacks this year was the Colonial Pipeline hack that resulted in a massive fuel shortage across vast parts of the United States earlier this year. Other reports suggest that scammers are targeting lovelorn singles to implement crypto frauds via well-known dating apps, such as Tinder, Bumble, and Grindr. Criminals are also resorting to SIM-swapping scams and using AI voice-cloning techniques to swindle banks out of millions of dollars.


Related: How SIM-Swapping Scams Work, And How To Protect Yourself

A new report out of the UK now suggests that serious cyber-crime isn’t restricted to hardened criminals with a plethora of technological tools at their disposal. Per the report, a seventeen-year-old boy from the Lincolnshire region of England set up a fake website last year to harvest the credit card details of hundreds of victims. His elaborate scam reportedly earned him a ton of money that is now worth nearly $3 million. According to a statement issued earlier this week by the Lincolnshire Police, the teen was arrested on August 14th, 2020 in a money laundering and fraud investigation for the scam that took place during April 9-16 of that year.

Police Confiscated 48 Bitcoin And Cryptocurrencies Worth Nearly $3 Million

A Teenager Used Google Ads To Scam $3 Million In Bitcoin

As part of its investigation, Lincolnshire police say they have seized “48 Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies” that are said to be worth nearly $3 million at current valuation. Describing the modus operandi, police said that the boy set up a phishing website impersonating a popular gift voucher site called ‘Love2Shop’ with the sole purpose of stealing credit card information and gift voucher redemption codes of unsuspecting shoppers. He then bought Google Ads for that fake site, which meant it appeared higher than the real site in search results. The teenager is said to have garnered a vast amount of personal details through his elaborate scheme, including more than 12,000 credit card numbers and 197 Paypal account logins.

According to the report, the boy was able to get £6,539 (around $9,000) worth of voucher codes during the time his site was live. The vouchers were then converted to Love2Shop gift cards, which the teen then used to buy cryptocurrencies to throw the police off his scent. The site is said to have been active for just one week from April 9-16 last year. It was taken down after Love2shop began investigating following a customer complaint. During the police investigation, he admitted to charges of money laundering and ‘fraud by false representation’ but doesn’t have to serve jail time because of his age. Instead, he was sentenced earlier this week to a 12-month youth rehabilitation program.

Next: Don’t Fall For Fake Dating Websites: How To Spot & Avoid Getting Scammed

Source: Lincolnshire Police, LincolnshireLive

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