In an alleged SIM-hacking scam in the US, a group of nine people have been charged for stealing cryptocurrencies from people and earning a total of $2.4 million by bribing or tricking mobile phone carriers into transferring a phone number into a new SIM card.
In an unsealed indictment, prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan claimed that six of the people, living across the US and Ireland, were members of a group called “The Community”, The Verge reported on Saturday.
Usually, such cyber-fraud cases involve taking control of a victim’s cryptocurrency wallet, giving a hacker access to the funds and “The Community” allegedly used this technique seven times to steal cryptocurrency. In a separate complaint, prosecutors have also charged three undisclosed mobile phone company operators with accepting bribes as part of the crime, the report said.
With access to the phone numbers, scammers were able to bypass security measures like two-factor authentication, that gave them control over the linked accounts of the victims. The alleged hackers face several frauds and identity theft charges, while the phone company employees have been charged with wire fraud and each could face decades in prison if convicted, the report noted.