Prosecutor charges former phone company employee in SIM-swap scheme

Prosecutor charges former phone company employee in SIM-swap scheme

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A former telephone corporate employee has been charged with conspiracy to devote fraud for allegedly the use of his get admission to to buyer account information to take over the telephone numbers of 19 consumers, together with no less than one cryptocurrency holder.

Stephen Daniel DeFiore of Brandon, Florida, gained about $2,325 between October 20, 2018, and November nine, 2018 in change for swapping the centered consumers’ SIM playing cards with ones belonging to a co-conspirator, prosecutors in New Orleans stated previous this week. For each and every SIM switch, the co-conspirator despatched DeFiore the buyer’s telephone quantity, a four-digit PIN, and a SIM card quantity to which that telephone quantity was once to be swapped, prosecutors stated.

The fees come 8 months after federal prosecutors charged Richard Yuan Li of Hercules, California, with conspiracy to devote fraud for his alleged function in a SIM switch rip-off that centered no less than twenty other people. Li was once in ownership of an iPhone eight which the selection of no less than one in every of DeFiore’s sufferers was once routed to, prosecutors stated.

The alleged sufferer was once a New Orleans-area scientific physician with cryptocurrency accounts at exchanges together with Binance, Bittrex, Coinbase, Gemini, Poloniex, ItBit, and Neo Pockets. Li and his co-conspirators then allegedly accessed the doctor’s electronic mail and cryptocurrency accounts and stole a “good portion” of the sufferer’s holdings.

Prosecutors went directly to allege that even after the physician recovered the telephone account, Li or one in every of his co-conspirators known as the physician to mention he had considered photographs within the physician’s Gmail account and balances within the physician’s cryptocurrency accounts. The caller then demanded 100 bitcoins, price about $640,000 on the time, in change for now not publishing the pictures or stealing the cryptocurrency.

Prosecutors didn’t establish the telephone corporate DeFiore labored for, however this LinkedIn profile lists a Stephen DiFiore who works as a Verizon customer support consultant in Brandon, Florida. Verizon representatives didn’t right away reply to an electronic mail in search of remark for this tale. Makes an attempt to achieve DeFiore were not a hit.


This week’s fees come as so-called SIM swapping crimes proceed to proliferate, motivated largely by way of criminals’ makes an attempt to acquire huge quantities of cryptocurrency in on-line accounts. As soon as a wrongdoer obtains keep watch over over sufferers’ telephone accounts, the perp normally makes use of that get admission to to finish account resets for electronic mail accounts and from there resets passwords for different accounts.

If convicted, DeFiore faces a most of 5 years in jail and a advantageous of as much as $250,000. Previous this week, Ecu officers introduced the arrests of 10 folks in reference to a chain of SIM-swapping assaults that reaped greater than $100 million.

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