Cases of crypto crime have elevated drastically with more and more teens getting alleged for these crimes. A few days back on August 17, a 19-year-old boy named Xzavyer Narvaez was accused of seven different computer-related crimes.
Some of these crimes dealt with in identity fraud and grand theft. Moreover, the hacker was also accused of stealing phone numbers to gain inappropriate sums of digital currencies successfully. Such frauds are on the rise and are now specifically identified as sim swapping. Although Narvaez was caught yet, he is nothing more than another brick in the wall.
The incident had taken place after a month when Joel Ortiz was taken into custody for accessing personal phone numbers without consent. Apparently, he was the first criminal to be framed for sim swapping after stealing almost $5 million in bitcoin. The offense is also known as port-out-scam in which a telecom provider is tricked to provide full control over a victim’s phone number. Thus, a hacker is able to leverage the information to steal value by resetting passwords and accessing digital wallets and other personal files.
After contemplating on both the cases, it has been theorized that Narvaez and Ortiz can be part of an organized group of professional hackers that take advantage of events like Consensus Conference in New York to target a pool of investors in the gathering. Moreover, they also took over the social media accounts of their prey to trade bitcoin.
In the case of Narvaez, most of his acquired wealth was used of buying luxury cars. As per the records provided by DMV the police was able to find out that he used a majority of his theft amount to buy a 2018 McLaren and already had bought an Audi R8 with the cryptocurrency. Until now, three victims of the theft have been recognized by the investigators with one of them losing $150,000 in the process.
The detectives discovered that Narvaez had access to 157 bitcoin, which currently values around $1 million, after checking the records from crypto exchanges like Bitpay and Bittrex for the time period between March and July 2018.
However, experts believe that these cases are not the last prosecutions from sim swapping attacks. With digital currencies coming into the mainstream and the ease of cracking social media handles, cell phone numbers have become a lucrative option for exploits in digital identification.
But, a person can secure personal information from such a fraud by setting up a spoken word password with the telecom provider. In this way, a person’s identity will be verified by the operator when making deals over a call. Eventually, frauds will not be able to impersonate you and won’t leverage your private information.
All this is happening amidst a stance of strict control over digital currencies, but hackers are coming up with novice ways to dupe innocent investors. It is a matter of time till we come across another instance of creative hijacking that will prove to be inspirational to many hackers.