Five people have been charged in France for alleged fraud targeting Bored APE non-fungible token (NFT) owners.
A reported $2.5m worth of NFTs is said to have been stolen from Bored Ape Yacht club (BAYC) and Mutant Ape Yautch Club (MAYC) holders.
The suspects purportedly used a phishing scam to obtain the assets by using fake websites promising to animate the owner's NFTs.
All five con artists who conducted the mammoth scheme in the short time between late 2021 and early 2022 were aged between 24 and 30 and residing in Paris, Caen and Tours.
Each person was charged with “fraud committed as part of a criminal gang, concealing fraud and criminal association”.
The illicit activity was bought to the attention of the French cybercrime unit OCLCTIC by Twitter user “ZachXBT,” a self-proclaimed “on-chain sleuth” and “rug pull survivor turned 2D detective” with an audience of 300,000 followers.
Deputy chief Christophe Durand said that the grassroots investigation by the social media user had triggered the unit into investigating the scam.
The blog post titled ‘Scammers in Paris’ described how the Twitter user Dilly Dilly was “phished for Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) #237” after clicking on a link “shared by a verified member of the BAYC Discord”.
Currently, NFT fraud is rife in the crypto space. Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic reported that between July 2021 and July 2022 alone more than $100m worth of NFTs had been stolen.
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