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SIM Swap crypto scam worth $784k unearthed by US officials

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  • Crypto scam using a technique of swapping sims led to the arrest of PlugWalkJoe
  • James O’Connor indicted for stealing crypto worth $784k from a Manhattan-based crypto company 
  • Control of the victim’s cell phone crucial in carrying out the crime 

The U.S. Division of Justice charged a British individual for his supposed job in taking $784,000 worth of digital currency utilizing SIM trade assaults. 

As indicated by the unlocked arraignment, Joseph James O’Connor – otherwise called “PlugWalkJoe” – contrived with others to take around $784,000 worth of digital currency from a Manhattan-based cryptographic money organization. It’s supposed that O’Connor, who is in his mid twenties, executed a plan with anonymous co-backstabbers to commandeer control of three telephone numbers having a place with chiefs of the designated firm. 

O’Connor and his partners are blamed for pulling off a SIM-trade assault, which commonly see fraudsters effectively hoodwink a cellphone supplier’s client assistance into giving them control of another person’s telephone number. 

2FA codes handy 

If a SIM-trade assault is effective, a fraudster won’t simply get calls expected for their casualty. They may likewise get one-time passwords and 2FA codes utilized by some internet based administrations to validate whether or not a client is permitted to sign into a framework. 

The Justice Department guarantees that after an effective SIM-trade assault, O’Connor and others figured out how to acquire unapproved admittance to staff accounts at the organization and its PC frameworks. 

Approximately May 1, 2019, it is affirmed that O’Connor and his partners then, at that point, redirected the digital currency held by the designated organization for the benefit of two of its customers into cryptographic money wallets under their own influence. 

The gathering purportedly took an aggregate of 770.784869 Bitcoin cash, 6,363.490509 Litecoin, 407.396074 Ethereum, and 7.456728 Bitcoin. 

Assuming the name “PlugWalkJoe” is natural to you, that might be on the grounds that O’Connor was captured recently corresponding to July 2020’s colossal hack of VIP Twitter accounts, a plan which endeavored to deceive supporters of any semblance of Joe Biden, Kanye West, and Elon Musk into succumbing to a digital currency trick. 


In the result of that high profile security break, O’Connor showed an astonishing eagerness to affirm that he was “PlugWalkJoe,” telling the New York Times in July 2020 that he was not stressed over police exploring his exercises: 

O’Connor is as of now anticipating removal from Spain, where he was caught recently. He could confront an extended jail sentence whenever indicted for the different criminal accusations brought against him. 

To forestall SIM trade aggressors, the Federal Trade Commission suggests a few stages. In the first place, individuals ought to never answer to messages, calls, or instant messages that demand individual data. These are probable phishing assaults, in which programmers endeavor to assemble entrust with purchasers to acquire their own data like federal retirement aide numbers or charge card data. 


Second, the FTC suggests that individuals limit the measure of data they share on the web, and, “If conceivable, try not to post your complete name, address, or telephone number on open locales.” This data furnishes lawbreakers with more information to do their robbery. 

The FTC also said that individuals should set up PIN or passwords for their cellphone accounts, in the possibility that fraudsters endeavor to call telephone organizations as a component of their SIM trading plans.

Steve Anderrson

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