Highlighting Points:

  • Two 17-year-old boys from Hamilton, Ontario, apprehended for stealing over $4 million worth of bitcoin and ether.
  • Hamilton police, FBI, and Secret Service investigate the spear phishing attack conducted by the teenagers.
  • Spear phishing attack involved creating fake personas as Coinbase support team members to deceive the victim.
  • Authorities seize approximately $13.4 million worth of digital assets, highlighting the need for vigilance against cybercrimes involving cryptocurrencies.

Two 17-year-old boys from Hamilton, Ontario, have been apprehended for reportedly stealing over $4 million worth of bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) from an American man. The Hamilton police, in collaboration with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force, began investigating the duo in June 2023. The teenagers used a spear phishing attack to carry out their crime, exploiting the victim’s trust and deceiving him into surrendering his crypto assets.

A spear phishing attack differs from traditional phishing attacks as it is specifically tailored to target individuals or organizations and is highly personalized. The scammers conduct thorough research on their victims, gathering information such as their name, position, company, and even personal details from social media platforms. Armed with this information, they create convincing emails or messages that appear to be from a trusted source, fooling the target into divulging sensitive information.

In this case, the boys utilized fake personas, going by the aliases “Felon” and “Gaze,” and posed as members of the support team of a prominent American crypto exchange, Coinbase. Their objective was to gain control over the victim’s crypto account on the exchange.

Millions in Digital Assets Seized

Once successful in taking control of the account, the teenagers were able to access the victim’s digital assets stored on the platform. They utilized a portion of the funds to purchase the highly sought-after Instagram username “@zombie,” which holds significance within the gaming community. However, their criminal activities came to an end when authorities apprehended them and seized approximately $13.4 million worth of digital assets.


While both teens were initially arrested, only one of them was charged with theft of over $5,000 and possession of property or proceeds acquired through criminal means. The other was subsequently released.

This incident highlights the growing issue of cybercrimes involving cryptocurrencies and the importance of individuals and organizations remaining vigilant against such attacks. Spear phishing attacks can have devastating consequences, and it is crucial to employ robust security measures and educate oneself about the risks associated with digital assets.

As authorities continue to combat cybercrime, it serves as a reminder that illicit activities perpetrated by teenagers can have significant financial repercussions. Efforts must be made to educate young individuals about the consequences of engaging in criminal activities and to promote ethical behavior in the digital landscape.