As more cryptocurrencies come into the market and more people trade in them, reports of cryptocurrency theft are increasing too. The FBI recently found a group of video game players — from Dolton, Illinois and Bloomington, Indianapolis — who met online while playing Call of Duty, hacked into cryptocurrency wallets and stole over $3.3 million worth of virtual currencies, the Chicago Times reported Monday.

A member of the gamers' group — from Bloomington — told the FBI he met other members online while playing Call of Duty. He also said they forced him to conspire in stealing cryptocurrencies. The Chicago Times cited an application that also recorded a warrant to search the home of a man in Dolton in the summer of 2018.

Based on a court filing by the FBI, the member who cooperated with the agency revealed the "hackers intimidated" him to be a part of this theft by threatening to SWAT him — the action of making a hoax call to emergency services, in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.

The FBI statement said that after being scared into being a part of the theft, the man allegedly helped the group gain control of over 100 different phones, so the thieves could steal cryptocurrency. Once the group got the phones, they hacked into victims’ cryptocurrency accounts. 

Cryptocurrency hacking A report on cryptocurrency theft published by a cybersecurity firm found that hacking of exchanges increased 250 percent in the first nine months of 2018. Here, a laptop displays a message after being infected by a ransomware as part of a worldwide cyberattack in Geldrop, North Brabant, the Netherlands, June 27, 2017. Photo: ROB ENGELAAR/AFP/Getty Images

FBI started to investigate into the matter after it was informed about cryptocurrency theft from a company called Augur. Augur is a decentralized oracle and peer-to-peer protocol for prediction markets where people can bet virtual currency on different outcomes for situations, like sporting events.

The company's employees told FBI how their virtual currency, called reputation token (REP), was being stolen. According to Augur, REP was used on the Augur betting platform and helped in keeping the overall infrastructure “growing and running smoothly.” The $3.3 million that the group stole also included about $805,000 worth of REP. They stole REP by shuffling stolen tokens through various cryptocurrency networks.

FBI also had transcripts of online chats between those involved in the theft discussing the "extortion of a victim" after the thieves were able to steal the victim's Augur investment. Transcripts were recorded in March 2017 by the FBI of the member from Bloomington and his online message exchanges with other suspected members. FBI agents tracked him down Jan. 31.

"He had chatted with another suspect about trying to extort a victim after the group had stolen that person’s Augur investment. The other suspect typed LOL — laugh out loud — and wrote, hack the planet," the Chicago Times reported. 

“I have done nothing but cooperate with Augur and the FBI. I have never once profited from anyone [by] crypto-hacking, ever," the man from Bloomington said.