AT&T is at the center of a new SIM swapping incident, and this time $1.8 million was lost. The telecom giant is accused of being lax and allowing hackers to access the accounts of one crypto executive and clean them out. In his court filing, the victim claims two AT&T employees are the key players in the scheme which saw him lose not just his own money, but that of other investors.
The victim, Seth Shapiro, currently serves as the head of strategy for VideoCoin, a startup that develops video infrastructure on the blockchain. In a case filed with the District Court for the Central District of California, Shapiro alleges that AT&T employees were involved in a SIM swapping operation between May 16 2018 and May 18 2019.
The lawsuit identifies Jarett White and Robert Jack, two former AT&T employees from Arizona as the main culprits. The two allegedly received $4,300 and $585 in compensation from the criminals, and in exchange, they fed them important information that made the SIM swapping possible.
Shapiro told investigators that it all began back in May 2018 when he attended the Consensus conference in New York. It was then that he lost phone reception and walked into an AT&T shop in Manhattan for assistance. The attendant told him that he was most likely the victim of a SIM swap and that he should buy a new phone and AT&T SIM card. He believed that by restoring his SIM card, he would thwart the attack. However, it turned out he was a little too late and the criminals were already wiping his accounts at various crypto exchanges clean.
According to Shapiro, the criminals were able to access his accounts at Coinbase, Bittrex, Huobi, KuCoin, Bitfinex, Liqui, HitBTC and more.
The criminals were able to steal 1,200 ETH, at the time worth over $500,000 from Shapiro’s Bittrex account, according to his legal team. The criminals also made away with $400,000 from his Wax account. In total, he lost about $1.75 million, with $1 million of it being his own money and the rest being from some investors he was working with at the time.
Shapiro spoke to Cointelegraph, explaining why he took so long to report the incident. “I did. There’s not much local PDs can do—AT&T has all the information. In my case, I was lucky that the REACT Task force in Santa Clara got a lead and pursued the case. As did the Department of Homeland Security, who have been amazing. I am very grateful to both groups and can give you contacts at each.”
AT&T has been in the midst of several SIM swap claims, both within the crypto community and without. Earlier this year, a crypto investor sued the company after losing $24 million in a similar SIM swapping incident. Michael Terpin demanded $200 million from the telecom giant in compensation.
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