Two men have been jailed for using ‘SIM-swapping’ to steal crypto worth $330,000
Eric Meiggs, 24, of Brockton, and his accomplice Declan Harrington, 22, of Beverly, were both sentenced to just over two years for SIM swapping, computer hacking, and other techniques that allowed them to steal about $330,000 in cryptocurrency.
Court documents show both men targeted executives of cryptocurrency companies and others who were likely to have significant amounts of crypto, as well as those with high value or “OG” (“original gangster”) social media account names.
Meiggs and Harrington targeted at least 10 victims across the US. They allegedly stole crypto worth about $330,000 from their victims. Meiggs allegedly took control of two “OG” social media accounts.
The practice gives a fraudster remote access to a cellphone number, which is often used to authenticate logins to banking, email, and social media accounts, lawyer Robert Freund told Insider.
“If a victim has two-factor authentication for those services enabled via SMS confirmation, then the fraudsters can satisfy the authentication challenges because they will receive the SMS codes sent to the victim’s number,” he said.
Another lawyer, Omar Ochoa, added: “Telecommunications companies may be liable for SIM swapping. All companies that gather and retain private information, have a duty to protect your data.”
“Your phone provider should have robust identity verification procedures to ensure it’s actually talking to the customer. If the procedures are too lax, customer service representatives are not well trained, or representatives ignore procedures, you have a good basis for arguing that your phone provider is at fault for the SIM swap,” Ochoa said.
In February, the FBI warned it received more than 1,600 SIM swapping reports last year — more than three times the number in 2018-2020 combined.
How to stop SIM swapping
Freund advised contacting your cell network and activate or request all available account security features. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon offer additional PIN codes you can require for any transfer or porting of your phone number. “This makes it less likely that a fraudster could successfully impersonate you to your carrier,” he said.
Read More: Two men have been jailed for using ‘SIM-swapping’ to steal crypto worth $330,000
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