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An Australian has been charged with a $5 million cryptocurrency extortion scheme


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A Melbourne man is currently facing extortion charges after he threatened to start a wildfire if a large amount of cryptocurrency was not transferred to him within three days.

The 27-year-old was arrested yesterday over a message sent to the Queensland Emergency Service in October 2022. In October 2022, the Queensland Emergency Services reported a message online from an unknown source demanding that A$5 million be transferred within three days or a forest fire lights up.

The arrest comes after an extensive investigation

The emergency service reported the ultimatum to the police before any cryptocurrency was exchanged, and soon after, the Victorian police took over the investigations. However, the threat was not carried out, as no forest fire was started even after the perpetrator’s demands were not met.

Investigators soon established that the letter had come from Bandora’s address. After an extensive investigation, a search warrant was executed at the address last week, resulting in the recovery of a phone and two computers.

The man has been taken into custody and now faces various charges, including threatening to damage property, withholding information by warrant, possession, and threatening to endanger life. The accused is scheduled to appear before the Magistrates Courts on August 1, after securing bail.

Cryptocurrency extortion is on the rise

Extortions are now taking many forms thanks to blockchain technology. The anonymity of these transactions makes it easy for scammers to get away with crime.

Many wealthy men from the United States have also received ransom claims for bitcoin, and failure to do so could expose their past lives or fidelity status.

FBI agent Patrick Wyman suggests using caution when sharing personal data and any information relating to your family to protect yourself from these scams.

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