Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has arrested a group of students for allegedly hacking credit cards and using the stolen money to purchase Bitcoin.
In a Twitter post on June 16, the DCI indicated that after purchasing Bitcoin, the group from Kenyatta University would convert the crypto into local currency.
The students identified as Francis Maina Wambui Alias Nick, 26, and Zellic Alusa, 25, were arrested in Nakuru, Kenya’s fourth-largest city, during a raid following weeks of investigations.
According to the DCI, the student deployed email phishing to steal from unsuspecting victims, especially those residing abroad. During the raid, the detectives recovered five laptops, four smartphones, two wifi gadgets, three hard drives, and assorted SIM cards.
Money spent lavishly
The proceeds of the alleged crimes are allegedly channelled towards entertainment and purchasing of properties. Notably, during the raid, the officer confiscated a property deed believed to have been purchased using the stolen money.
“They use the money to live lavishly, entertain young women and buy properties. Among the documents recovered in the house was a land sale agreement entered on May, 25, for a property valued at Sh 850,000 ($8,000) in Juja,” the statement read.
The report added the case had been forwarded to the cyber forensic experts, who will conduct a further probe into the sophisticated crime.
Scammers thriving amid lack of regulations
Additionally, the investigative agency acknowledged that due to a lack of government oversight, cybercriminals are taking advantage of by using crypto to engage in different crimes.
Amid the growing cryptocurrency space, Kenya has recorded a spike in related crimes like investment scams. For instance, the country’s ICT minister revealed that investors lost almost $120 million in crypto scams across 2021.
Currently, the government is pushing for sharing ideas between stakeholders to curb such scams. Notably, Kenya is among many countries with no specific cryptocurrency regulations meaning the general regime of the law applies.
Amid the rising cybercrime related to cryptocurrencies, the government recently unveiled a forensic lab whose purpose will partly tackle crypto-related crimes.