A trend is emerging in Canada whereby wealthy crypto investors are being robbed in their own homes as thieves search for private keys.
It’s widely known in the crypto world that cold storage is the safest way to store your crypto. What is sometimes overlooked though is that cold storage is safe compared with online storage, but offline private keys are still at risk of being stolen in an old-fashioned home robbery.
Canada’s Richmond RCMP and Delta Police issued a public warning on July 19 after noticing an emerging “trend” of high-value cryptocurrency investors being robbed in their own homes. The forces said they have responded to several such robberies over the past year.
“It appears someone is targeting these victims for cryptocurrency, and we believe this public warning is necessary in the interest of public safety,” said Staff Sergeant Gene Hsieh of the Richmond RCMP Major Crime Unit.
While the type and volume of cryptocurrencies robbed is unspecified, the force confirmed that “large amounts” have been stolen.
In such robberies, the suspect poses as a delivery person or person of authority. Once let inside the victim’s home, they proceed to obtain information such as private keys in order to access and steal their crypto.
“The suspects appear to know the victims are heavily invested in cryptocurrency, know where they live, and are robbing them in their own homes,” said Staff Sergeant Jill Long of Delta Police Investigative Services.
The force advised the public to keep “financial information in a safe location, like a safety deposit box at a financial institution”, but this doesn’t necessarily mitigate risk for crypto investors.
Cold storage devices like Ledger are extremely safe, but users are often advised to keep a backup of their recovery phrase on a piece of paper or something similar. A lost seed phrase can result in permanently lost funds.
In May, Ledger confirmed that it would start offering a recovery feature that would enable users to recover seed phrases if lost. While the feature is an optional, opt-in service, the company faced huge backlash after learning that private keys could be subpoenaed in court, forcing them to postpone the launch until the source code was open and audited.
By and large, the biggest number of crypto hacks remain digital. In June, Atomic Wallet suffered a breach that resulted in $100 million losses, and it was traced back to the notorious North Korean hacker group, Lazarus.
There are many ways you can improve the safety of your crypto wallet – read here for more.
Disclaimer: CryptoPlug does not recommend that any cryptocurrency should be bought, sold, or held by you. Do conduct your own due diligence and consult your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.