Staked-Out LocalBitcoins Trader Victim of Armed Home Invasion
A LocalBitcoins trader in Northborough, Massachusetts, experienced a July 6th home invasion in which two armed assailants specifically requested both cash and bitcoin. The robbers were quickly apprehended by local police, but the episode highlights the growing target cryptocurrency users have on their backs where break-ins are concerned.
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‘I Want Yah Cash and Yah Bitcoin’
One LocalBitcoins trader had their weekend start traumatically after two armed burglars broke into their house and, at gun point, demanded the trader hand over dollars and bitcoin.
It was the demand for the latter that signaled an important clue, because, although the trader didn’t recognize the attackers, the only way the victim could have been targeted as a hodler was through being tipped off, or sent, by someone who had previously conducted a LocalBitcoins trade with them.
“So this morning I woke up to my burglary alarm going off. I went downstairs to investigate. Two men broke into my house through the basement window and ran up the stairs. One of them pointed a gun at my head and said “I want yah cash and yah bitcoin’ in a Boston accent. I took him into my office and gave him a couple hundred in twenty dollar bills. He said he wanted my bitcoin, and so I told him I didn’t have any. I then took him down into my basement and opened my safe, which only contained a few hundred dollars in five dollar bills. After one unsuccessful attempt, I managed to escape out the front door of my house. I ran down the street yelling “CALL 911!’. This prompted them to get out of my house and get back in their car. As I turned around and saw them getting into the car, I approached it and made a mental note of the license plate number.”
The trader said they had “never traded” with the attackers before, so someone had obviously put the robbers “up to this”:
“The two men were wearing construction vests. They apparently staked out my house by doing yardwork… they actually picked up all the excess grass the kid who did my lawn left behind and put it into a nice pile. Bizarrely, they stuck a spoon and a couple of wrenches vertically in the dirt in my yard. They also ripped off one of my external burglary sirens and cut the internet and TV cables on the outside of my house and on the inside of my basement.
They left behind a cigarette, a cell phone, and a bunch of blood drops from where they cut themselves on the glass inside my house. Whoever put them up to this – and it had to be someone, because I had never traded with either of them before – did not exactly send their A-team. In fact, according to the police, the guy who stuck a gun in my face said he was coming down from meth!”
Luckily for the victim, police responded quickly and were able to apprehend both of the almost successful thieves within the same day. Yet with the weapon and meth involved, the robbery could’ve gone a lot worse — the trader is fortunate to have their life, much less their bitcoin.
Jameson Lopp Creates Repository for Physical Crypto Attacks
Casa engineer and Bitcoin technik Jameson Lopp, who has oft called for personal OpSec in the cryptoverse, cast attention to the new home invasion on Twitter, saying anyone “publicly known for owning crypto assets” should “review your physical security.”
Another armed home invasion, this time of a @LocalBitcoins trader. Criminals are catching on – if you're publicly known for owning crypto assets, review your physical security. https://t.co/ADGBgNxIbA
— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) July 7, 2018
Lopp took his PSA a step further a few hours later, creating a “repository to catalogue physical attacks” on cryptocurrency owners.
To help keep track of the dynamic security landscape for crypto asset owners, I've started an open source repository to catalog physical attacks. Please contribute additions and corrections! https://t.co/wqawX5OpEc
— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) July 7, 2018
Unfortunately, such attacks are only set to increase as cryptocurrency adoption milestones continue to drop. The best thing traders can resort to for now is basic OpSec — don’t reveal anything you don’t have to, ever. Though some attackers will always be willing to go the extra mile in researching and staking out their victims.
Similar to Lopp’s remarks above, a humbled USMC1991 had their own closing advice for cryptocurrnecy hodlers, saying the extra effort is worth it when it comes to security:
“If you don’t have a home security system, get one. If you are legally allowed to have a firearm, and you don’t have one, get one. If you don’t have cameras on the outside of your home, get them. If I had installed my security cameras on the outside of my house, I could have called the police before they even got inside my home.”
Of course, an in-person LocalBitcoins transaction is really no different than, say, a similarly conducted Craigslist transaction. The majority of traders never suffer nefarious experiences through either platform. But there’s always bad apples, and this reality necessitates consequences as crypto is increasingly interesting to the good, the bad, and the ugly.
What’s your take? Do you already practice OpSec with regard to your involvement with crypto? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Pixabay, LocalBitcoins