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UK teen makes $2.83M in BTC duping online shoppers using Google Ads

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A teenager was caught with $2.83 million in Bitcoin after his phishing site used to dupe consumers into handing over gift voucher redemption codes was caught. 

The teenager had set up an imposter website for Love2Shop, a gift voucher site. He used Google Ads to promote his fake site, making it appear above the original in search results. The boy harvested £6,500 worth of vouchers in the week that the site was active.

After a customer complaint, Love2Shop began investigating in April 2020, and the boy, whose identity is protected by court order, promptly took the fake site down. 

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Big explosions come in small packages

A police investigation into the matter found 12,000 credit card numbers and 197 Paypal account details on the boy’s computer. In addition to this, the boy had 48 Bitcoins which amounted to approximately £400,000, but their value has risen multi-fold since the police arrest in August 2020. 

The teenager received a 12-month youth rehabilitation order after pleading guilty to money laundering and fraud by false representation. The Lincoln Crown Court also granted a confiscation order against the boy since the Bitcoins were proceeds from the proven crime. 

The judge, Catarina Sjölin Knight, sentenced the boy earlier this week, telling him that “you have a long-standing interest in computers. Unfortunately, you used your skills to commit a sophisticated fraud,” as reported by Lincolnshire Live. The judge also commented that he’d be jailed for the offence if the boy were an adult. 

Detective Constable Luke Casey on Lincolnshire Police added to this in a statement outside court describing the boy having carried out a rather sophisticated cyber fraud that required a complex investigation. 

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: