Two more young men in the United States have been indicted in the “SIM Swapping” scheme to steal cryptocurrency after the recent indictment of 20-year-old Dawson Bakies in a similar case by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.
A federal grand jury indicted 21-year-old Ahmad Wagaafe Hared and 23-year-old Matthew Gene Ditman with conspiracy to commit “computer fraud and abuse, conspiracy to commit access device fraud, extortion, and aggravated identity theft.”
This was announced by the United States Attorney David Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John Bennett through a release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of California.
Hared and Ditman are charged in the indictment of engaging in fraud and extortion to obtain cryptocurrencies and other valuables owned by cryptocurrency investors and executives of cryptocurrency-related companies.
The two are alleged to have conspired to use fraud, deception, and social engineering techniques to induce telecom service providers and their executives to provide information about the SIM cards of the victims’ smartphones.
In what is called SIM Swapping, the two allegedly convinced the service providers to transfer or port the mobile numbers from SIM cards in the devices of the victims to the SIM cards in devices owned by them.
Using other deceptive techniques, they also gained access to email, electronic storage, and other accounts of victims and ultimately to their cryptocurrency accounts.
Hared was arrested in Tucson and Ditman was arrested in Las Vegas. Both were released on a bond of $100,000 each. They could face a maximum of five years of imprisonment and several hundreds of dollars in fine.
“SIM swapping” or “SIM hijacking” is a growing crime in the telecommunications world that, in a few moments’ time, can allow a thief to steal millions of dollars of an unsuspecting victim’s assets. This can be done with little more than a persuasive plea for assistance, a willing telecommunications carrier representative, and an electronic impersonation of the victim.
According to a report on krebsonsecurity.com, the U.S. State of California is said to be the hub of unauthorized “SIM swaps.” The report says kids aged mainly between 19 and 22 are being able to steal millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies.
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