A hacking ring stole millions by hijacking SIM cards, feds say

Nine people were charged in a purported conspiracy to hijack SIM cards and steal the cryptocurrency of involuntary victims, prosecutors said this week. The scheme, according to court documents, generated more than $ 2.4 million.

In an unsealed indictment, prosecutors from the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan claim that six of the people, who live in the United States and Ireland, were members of a group called "The Community." Prosecutors say they participated in a scam called SIM hijacking, in which, by bribery or deception, hackers convince mobile phone companies to transfer a phone number to a new SIM card.

With access to the telephone number, scammers can bypass security measures such as two-factor authentication, which gives them control over victims' accounts. Frequently, the scam involves taking control of the victim's cryptocurrency portfolio and granting a hacker access to the funds. The Community allegedly used this technique seven times to steal the cryptocurrency. In another complaint, prosecutors have accused three operators of mobile phone companies of accepting bribes as part of the crime.

The alleged hackers face several charges of fraud and identity theft, while employees of the telephone company have been accused of fraud. Everyone could face decades in prison if convicted.

The hijacking of SIM has become an increasingly popular scheme, and the application of the law is catching up. Earlier this year, a man from California accepted a plea agreement related to a kidnapping scheme, becoming the first person sentenced to prison for using the technique.

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