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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 phone company employee has been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud for allegedly utilizing his entry to buyer account knowledge to take over the phone numbers of 19 prospects, together with at the least one cryptocurrency holder.

Stephen Daniel DeFiore of Brandon, Florida, acquired about $2,325 between October 20, 2018, and November 9, 2018 in change for swapping the focused prospects’ SIM playing cards with ones belonging to a co-conspirator, prosecutors in New Orleans stated earlier this week. For every SIM swap, the co-conspirator despatched DeFiore the shopper’s phone quantity, a four-digit PIN, and a SIM card quantity to which that phone quantity was to be swapped, prosecutors stated.

The charges come eight months after federal prosecutors charged Richard Yuan Li of Hercules, California, with conspiracy to commit fraud for his alleged function in a SIM swap rip-off that focused at the least twenty folks. Li was in possession of an iPhone 8 which the variety of at the least one in every of DeFiore’s victims was routed to, prosecutors stated.

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

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

Prosecutors didn’t establish the phone company 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 instantly reply to an e-mail in search of remark for this story. Attempts to achieve DeFiore weren’t profitable.


This week’s charges come as so-called SIM swapping crimes proceed to proliferate, motivated in massive half by criminals’ makes an attempt to acquire massive quantities of cryptocurrency in on-line accounts. Once a perpetrator obtains management over victims’ phone accounts, the perp sometimes makes use of that entry to finish account resets for e-mail accounts and from there resets passwords for different accounts.

If convicted, DeFiore faces a most of 5 years in jail and a high-quality of as much as $250,000. Earlier this week, European officers introduced the arrests of 10 people in reference to a collection of SIM-swapping assaults that reaped greater than $100 million.

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Updated on March 1, 2021 4:07 am

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