The motorcycle-riding thieves snatched the phone from his wife's hand. Now he can no longer access the $30,000 he had invested in cryptocurrency.
Bali, Indonesia draws millions of tourists every year, contributing 223 trillion rupiah (about S$20.19 billion) to the country’s economy in 2017. But wherever there are large crowds of tourists, there are shady characters waiting to prey on unsuspecting tourists.
Nilesh Surya (pictured below), who works in marble manufacturing in India, was one tourist who fell victim to Bali’s criminals. He and his wife were in Bali on a vacation when his phone got stolen by two motorcycle-riding thieves.
It was a little past midnight on 26 April, and Surya and his wife were riding a rental scooter on Sunset Road in Kuta, Badung on their way back to their hotel.
Then, two men on a motorcycle suddenly drove by them and snatched Surya’s mobile phone (a Samsung Galaxy Note 8) from his wife’s hand.
“I followed them for 500 meters, then they took a left from Kunti Circle, and after 150-200 meters, they took a left again and we lost them,” Surya told Asian Money Guide via an email interview.
Stolen phone and cryptocurrency: What was lost
Losing your phone is a nightmare for anyone, but most especially for Surya, who had been investing in cryptocurrency for 7 months. All of his data and passwords were stored on his phone, and there was no way for him to recover his passwords because he uses his phone as a security measure.
He had invested US$30,000 (around S$40,000) in crypto, and now can’t access any of it.
Why didn’t anyone help him?
After the incident, Surya asked for help from the local police. After registering his complaint at the police station, the police told him to call a number to follow up, but nobody picked up.
To make matters worse, his return flight to India was later that afternoon, at 4 pm.
Surya also asked for help from the Indian Embassy.
“No one was there to help me when I reached there,” Surya says. “The officer refused to meet me.”
He was advised to send an email to the Indian Embassy, but didn’t hear back from them until four days later, when they asked for his phone’s serial number — a detail he had already given in his initial email.
The Bali police response
Upon the police’s instructions, Surya began corresponding with one policeman at 11:25 am of April 26. He followed up later at 11:39 pm, but it wasn’t until the next morning that the police replied.
The policeman wrote:
“Sorry sir. I was sleeping early last night. My team was unlucky to catch the guy. Both guys ran away on a bus and only the motorbike was seized two nights ago. We identified the guys who snatched your phone.”
They recovered a red motorcycle, but Surya says that the motorcycle that the thieves were riding was black.
After the incident, Surya noticed that there were CCTV cameras around so he requested for the footage, but when he followed up on the case, the police said that none of the CCTV cameras were working
“We have identified the guys but they are hiding somewhere,” said the policeman. “They are Balinese and the family is already aware of them. It is a matter of time [before we] catch them.”
Surya is still trying to get authorities to recover his data. His advice?
“Never go to Bali with such important data on your phone.”
How do you keep your cryptocurrency secure?
But there are other precautions we can take to make sure that your crypto is secure. First, make a backup of your wallet. Then, make sure that you store your cryptocurrency somewhere secure.
There are two main methods to store your cryptocurrency: in hot storage or cold storage.
To put it simply, using hot storage is simply keeping your cryptocurrency in a device that is connected to the internet.
Though storing your crypto on an online or mobile wallet is convenient because it allows you to easily make transactions, doing so opens you up to cyberattacks. And if your device gets damaged or lost, you could lose everything if you don’t have any backups.
If using hot storage is like keeping cash in a wallet, cold storage is like keeping money in a savings account. Using cold storage means keeping your crypto in a device that’s completely offline.
You can use hardware wallets like USB sticks, but some people even use paper wallets.
Paper wallets are undoubtedly the easiest way to store your cryptocurrency. How do you make one? You print your public and private keys on a piece of paper, then store and save this paper in a secure place.
How do you keep your cryptocurrency secure? Let us know your thoughts on this stolen phone and cryptocurrency article in the comments below.
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