Theft of 100,000 XRP Leads to Arrest in Australia

New South Wales police forces arrested a 23-year-old Australian for stealing Ripple worth $46,000.


A 23-year old Australian woman has been arrested over stealing 100,000 XRP. Police forces detained the individual in her parent’s house in Sydney after she allegedly raided a 56-year-old crypto adopter’s wallet and transferred more than $46,000 worth in Ripple to a Chinese exchange.

According to Australian newspaper Brisbane Times, the woman hacked the victim’s email account in January of this year and set up a two-step verification security feature by changing the password and verifying it with her personal mobile number. The 23-year-old individual then used the victim’s email address to obtain access to their cryptocurrency wallet. She then transferred 100,000 XRP to an account in China, and converted them in Bitcoin. By the time the 56-year-old victim restored access to the account, the funds had been drained.

Officers from a unit called Strike Force Rostrevor, seized computer hardware, storage devices and mobile phones during the search of the female perpetrator’s residence.

In a video report released by the Brisbane Times, New South Wales Police Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsianis announced that the case marks the first cryptotheft-related arrest in Australia. However, according to the detective, the authorities expect more cases to follow.

“It’s a very significant crime and it’s the first that we know of its type in Australia where an individual has actually been arrested and charged for the technology-enabled theft of cryptocurrency,” said Katsianis. “What I can tell you is that while this might be considered an exception, in the next few years this will be the norm.”

New Tools for Crypto Criminals

The case highlights a recent trend of mobile phone-related crypto crimes. Cybercriminals have turned to methods such as email and sim hijacking to obtain access to victim’s crypto wallets and steal digital assets. In this case, the perpetrator allegedly reset the victim’s wallet password details, before adding her own mobile number.

New South Wales police released a statement, urging cryptocurrency adopters and users to enable 2-factor authentication methods on their devices and crypto wallets to reduce the likelihood of having their wallets compromised. While authorities are hopeful they will be able to restore the missing funds, they stressed digital assets are ‘encrypted, which makes them very hard to trace’.

“This is where the criminal environment will expand,” said Katsianis. “Particularly for people in the community who are trying to invest their money.”

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