A US-based crypto investor Michael Terpin has been awarded $75.8 million in a SIM-swapping fraud lawsuit, according to news reports from Reuters on May 10.
Earlier in the year, Terpin decided to file a case against 21-year-old Nicholas, whom he claimed had defrauded him a lot of cryptocurrencies. In what can be considered as one of the largest court judgments awarded to one single individual in the cryptocurrency industry, the Manhattan resident was ordered to pay the amount as punitive damages (exceeding $50 million) and compensatory losses (amounting to $23.8 million).
What happens in a SIM-swap scam is that hackers camouflage themselves as owners of the mobile phone numbers of victims. To do that, they convince telecom providers to grant them access to their messages and calls by providing a SIM with the same number. After taking control of the SIM, they can comfortably access various crucial accounts, including those the victim has in crypto exchanges.
The recent Terpin’s complaint comes after the first lawsuit filing against AT&T that occurred last August. In that case, Terpin had accused the company of negligence that permitted him to suffer the crypto loss.
He stated at that time:
“In recent incidents, law enforcement has even confirmed that AT&T employees profited from working directly with cyber terrorists and thieves in SIM swap frauds,”
While Terpin is through with the case against Truglia, he has to deal with the humongous litigation against AT&T.
After gaining control of the phone number, Truglia and other hackers reset the passwords and accessed his online accounts where they stole the tokens. In another SIM swapping scam, Truglia had at one time been arrested in November after reportedly stealing around $1 million worth crypto assets.
On May 9, just recently, the U.S. Department of Justice gave a group of six hackers labeled “The Community,” a fifteen counts indictment for using SIM-swaps to steal cryptocurrencies.
Criminals seem to use SIM swap to gain access to cryptocurrency wallets nowadays increasingly, and mobile providers are not doing enough to curb this practice to guard the safety of their customers.