In the wake of stealing $5 million in cryptocurrency from 40 exploited people through SIM swapping, 20-year-old Joel Ortiz, pleaded guilty to theft and accepted a plea deal of 10 years in prison as reported by Motherboard.
Ortiz acknowledged the plea deal a week ago, as per Erin West, the Deputy District Attorney of Santa Clara County, California. He will formally be condemned on Mar 14. Specialists allegedly express that Ortiz is the first individual convicted of a crime for SIM swapping.
According to Samy Tarazi, one of the agents who investigated Ortiz told Motherboard “We think justice has been served. And hopefully, this is a strong message to that community.”
SIM swapping is becoming progressively well known with offenders as a way to take fiat, crypto, and even online networking usernames and handles, which can in this way be sold on a bootleg market. The Instagram account “@t” purportedly sold for $40,000 in Bitcoin (BTC).
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— Block.one (@block_one_) February 1, 2019
In SIM swapping, Hackers call a telecoms company posing as their target and claim that their SIM card has been lost and that they would like their number to be ported to a new card. The criminals can convince phone companies that they are who they claim to be by providing social security numbers or addresses.
One hacker told Motherboard, “With someone’s phone number you can get into every account they own within minutes and they can’t do anything about it.”
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— BTCMANAGER (@btc_manager) February 1, 2019
When the telecoms company exchanges the number to another SIM, hackers can bypass two-step authentication measures for accounts by using the phone as a recovery method.
Over the previous year, experts worldwide have taken action against crypto related crime. In Russia, a group of nuclear engineers was arrested by security agents when they were caught using supercomputers to mine Bitcoin (BTC).
In Thailand, three siblings one of whom is soap opera actor Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit were arrested late last year in connection with a $24 million cryptocurrency scam targeting a Finnish investor.