The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has recently accused a group of hackers called “The Community” of 15 criminal counts, regarding their act of stealing digital currency via SIM swapping.
Specifically, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider – along with a few members from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Angie Salazar – publicly revealed the indictment, which was a result of an extensive operation carried out by Homeland Security across 2 continents.
As stated in the indictment, a group of 5 Americans and 1 Irishman have received charges against wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. 3 more individuals, who were believed to be former employees for mobile phone providers, have also been legally charged in a criminal complaint about their fraudulent activities associated with “The community”.
As further explained in details, the group of criminal crooks employed the Sim swapping method in their criminal acts – a kind of identity fraud which specifically exploits a flaw in a 2-factor authentication system used by companies to protect their clients. With the help of a likely mobile providers’ employees, the attackers managed to secure the victims’ phone digits, which will be moved to a new SIM card in the crooks’ possession.
After obtaining the customers’ personal information, “The community” will then be able to get into their crypto accounts and wallets, stealing the customers’ money. Consequently, a total amount of up to $2.5 million worth of cryptocurrency was transferred to wallets under the control of “The Community”.
The criminals may receive up to 20 years of jail time individually, as this is the maximum penalty for wire fraud charges.
Recently, a 21-year-old student from Boston has been sentenced 10 years in prison for stealing more than $7.5 million in cryptocurrency by hacking victims cellphones, reported by The Crypto Sight on April 24.