Two Massachusetts men have been arrested and charged in connection with a nationwide SIM swapping scheme. According to a press release by the U.S. Department of Justice, the two targeted high-ranking people in the crypto community, such as executives in crypto companies as well as influential crypto social media personalities.
The two men, 21-year-old Eric Meiggs and 20-year-old Declan Harrington, are facing an 11-count indictment. They are facing eight counts of wire fraud, one count each for computer fraud, conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.
The indictment claims that the two convince a victim’s cell phone carrier to reassign the victim’s cell phone number from the SIM card held by the victim to one which they control. Having taken over the SIM card, they then pose as the victim and change the login credentials to their online crypto account providers, take over the account and transfer the crypto to accounts that they control.
The two are also alleged to have targeted influential crypto personalities whose social media accounts had a huge following and were thus of high value. They used the same tactics to take over the accounts, although the DoJ didn’t reveal exactly how they used the social media accounts.
Meiggs and Harrington are alleged to have targeted at least 10 victims in the United States. They made away with over $550,000 from their victims, accessing their accounts at such exchanges as Coinbase and Block.io.
One of the victims from Nevada owned a crypto ATM network, while another one from New Jersey published online guidance regarding crypto trading.
If convicted of any of the charges, the two shall have to forfeit “any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of such offense; and any property used, or intended to be used, in any manner or part, to commit, or to facilitate the commission of such an offense.”
As CoinGeek reported, cases of SIM swapping are rising, with crypto holders being a lucrative target. Recently, a SIM swap victim filed a lawsuit against Bittrex crypto exchange for allowing the victims to take off with over $1 million worth of crypto.
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