The crypto industry is notorious for its outrageous cyber heists carried out by innovative criminals. But once in a while, you get the old-fashioned thieves who do it old school. And this was the case in Dubai when a group of four expatriates attacked an individual they were scheduled to sell bitcoin to.
According to a local report, four Ukrainian expatriates were supposed to meet with a buyer who wanted to purchase bitcoins worth Dh500,000 ($136,000) in cash.
The buyer, whose name is still unknown, asked a 33-year-old Egyptian witness and another person to join him in meeting the sellers, perhaps for security reasons.
Carrying the cash in a bag, the buyer and the two other victims waited for the four bitcoin sellers, aged between 28 and 34, in an office.
As the bitcoin sellers were running late, the buyer was ready to leave and that’s when the would-be robbers showed up.
A bitcoin robbery that went wrong
The sellers broke into an office in the Al Barsha area in Dubai and attempted to steal cash by attacking the victims.
“A man told us to wait until the arrival of the bitcoin seller. As they were getting late, the victim told the man that they would leave, when the door opened and the four Ukrainian suspects came in, attacked the victim and tried to steal the money,” narrated the Egyptian witness.
The four men physically attacked the victims and went to the extent of spraying deodorant onto the victims’ faces.
The victims screamed, raising an alarm, and the thieves eventually ran away after failing to steal the money.
However, the four suspects have been arrested by the police charged with attempted robbery.
Physical bitcoin trades and attacks
The majority of cryptocurrency trades are carried out on centralized exchanges where. However, there are times when individuals meet for transactions but this is not recommended as it gives one part the opportunity to exploit the other.
This is not the first time such an act has occurred in Dubai. In April 2018, a gang of 10 members deceived two Asian brothers who were interested in buying bitcoin.
The victims were lured into an office where they assaulted. The perpetrators subdued the two victims and made off with Dh7 million ($1.9 million at the time) in cash. The gang members were later arrested by the police.
With bitcoin smashing records, more people would be interested in buying the digital asset, creating a fertile ground for thieves to capitalize on.