SIM swap attacks happens when fraudulently induces a wireless carrier to reassign a mobile from the legitimate subscriber or user SIM card to a SIM card managed by a criminal actor.
Once the swap occurs the bad actor can beat various factor authentication safety and reach online to steal money or data.
A latest indictment alleged that Robert Powell using online moniker was the head of a SIM swapping group.
Powell’s accused crew allegedly used identification card printers to forge documents than pose as victims visiting Verizon, AT&T, T Mobile retail stores in Minnesota, Indiana, Utah, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia and District of Columbia.
Powell has been charge with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit identity theft and reach device fraud, Special Agent Brent Bledsoe expressed in the indictment.
This Friday Powell faces a detention hearing where he ordered by the US Marshal Service to appear in person.
According to indictment various alleged victims did not suffer financial damages but those di were allegedly hit hard. The mega hit appears to be employee of company whose AT&T device was allegedly commandered at Texas retail store resulting in $400 million being allegedly transferred from the company to co conspirator financial accounts.
Victims allegedly lost cryptocurrency valued between $15000 and $1 million.
Co conspirators are accused of masking stolen funds or self hosted virtual currency wallets. Stolen funds must be forfeited the indictment said.
Powells attorney Gal Pissetzky added Arts That Powell has no comment on the indictment at this time.
When Powell alleged scheme start in 2021 the FBI issued a warning criminals were increasingly using SIM swap attacks fuelling total losses that year of $68 million.
US law enforcement has made various arrest but none of uncovered schemes come near to the near damages from theft Powell crew are being accused of.
In 2022 a Florida man Nicholas Truglia sentenced to 18 months for stealing more than $20 million from a single victim.Truglia was sentenced to 18 months for stealing over $20 million from a single victim.Truglia was ordered to forfeit over $900,000 as criminal penalty.
US official seem aware that some bad person trying SIM swap attacks appear to be getting more. The Securities and Exchange Commission was targeted in an attack that commandeered the agency account on X known as Twitter. The attack led to misleading X Post falsely revealing the approval of bitcoin exchange traded funds causing a brief spike in bitcoin price.