On Thursday, two men from Massachusetts were charged on account of stealing cryptocurrencies worth around $550,000. They have also been charged for stealing details of people’s social media accounts and looting their cryptocurrency through it.
As per the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the two accused Eric Meiggs (21) and Declan Harrington (20), targeted around ten victims, all of whom were high-level executives of cryptocurrency firms having a substantial amount of crypto assets with them.
The accused “allegedly stole, or attempted to steal, over $550,000 in cryptocurrency from these victims alone,” utilizing SIM swapping, computer hacking, and other means of digital theft.
Meiggs and Harrington have been charged with one count of conspiracy, eight of wire fraud, one of computer fraud and abuse, and one of aggravated identity theft; this comes to a total of 11 counts. The matter is still under investigation and if both of them are found to be guilty beyond doubt, they will be punished.
SIM swapping is a means of cheating people by convincing cellular operators to reassign the victim’s phone number to the cybercriminal’s phone. Hackers generally give legitimate explanations to cellular providers like they bought a new phone as the old one was lost or stolen; they even try to bribe cellular company employees to give away the numbers. Once the switching is done, cybercriminals bypass security blocks like two-factor identification and change the victim’s passwords. By doing so, the fraudsters can now gain access to various social media accounts, bank or financial accounts, which give them free access to the financial details and money of the victim. Once the scammers have access to all the details, it is easy for them to extract all cryptocurrencies from the victim’s account.
SIM swapping is on the rise since 2018; there have been many instances and mostly, the targets are people who are working in the crypto industry or have a high value.