In the past week, US authorities charged nine people with wire fraud and identity theft. According to the charges, the individuals were members of a group that hijacked phone numbers and sim cards to steal crypto.
The group is dubbed “The Community”. It comprises eight Americans and one Irishman. All members are aged between 19 and 28 years. The Community had pulled off heists in the states of Florida, California, Iowa, Missouri, Connecticut, and Arizona.
Former Employees of Mobile Phone Providers
According to a report, the authorities found that three of the members were former employees at mobile phone providing firms. This helped the group get hold of private data belonging to the subscribers of the firms in which they worked. The Community used Discord and Telegram to run their activities.
The charges filed against them disclose that the defendants were planning to steal from one of the Winklevoss twins. However, they did not follow through with the plan. It is also not clear how serious they were about the plan.
Court documents unveiled that the group used personal information against their victims. Upon getting the information, The Community would either bribe or impersonate employees at cellular service firms. It would then use the access to activate a new sim card with its victim’s information. From here, the ring would leverage the information and SIM card to access its victim’s email accounts and crypto wallets. The Community was also in a position to request two-factor authentication (2FA) codes that allowed it to overcome all security measures.
Crypto Adopters are Targets of SIM-jacking Schemes
US law enforcement entities are trying to have a 20-year-old Dublin man extradited back to his country. He is part of the scam that saw The Community steal crypto assets worth approximately $2.5 million. The group is known to have stolen as much as $470,000 per heist. The Community first became known after a mother in Michigan overheard her son pretending to be an AT&T agent and called investigators.
State investigators found files with a list of names and phone numbers. They also found SIM cards and cell phones that were used in the thefts.
Last year, Silver Miller, a Florida-based law firm filed a lawsuit against AT&T and T-Mobile. Reportedly, the organizations’ clients accused the telecommunication giants of letting hackers swap their SIM cards. According to a Silver Miller client, AT&T’s lack of security gave attackers access to his account. The client noted that the telecom firm had previously increased security after an attempted hack earlier on. However, despite the increased security, attackers still managed to steal crypto coins worth approximately $620,000 from the client.
Do you think the charges against The Community will discourage crypto thefts? Let us know in the comments below.