Former cellphone provider worker accused of accepting bribes in SIM-swap rip-off

Former phone carrier employee accused of accepting bribes in SIM-swap scam

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A former cellphone firm employee has been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud for allegedly utilizing his entry to buyer account information to take over the cellphone numbers of 19 prospects, together with at the very least one cryptocurrency holder.

Stephen Daniel DeFiore of Brandon, Florida, obtained about $2,325 between October 20, 2018, and November 9, 2018 in change for swapping the focused prospects’ SIM playing cards with ones belonging to a co-conspirator, prosecutors in New Orleans said earlier this week. For every SIM swap, the co-conspirator despatched DeFiore the client’s cellphone quantity, a four-digit PIN, and a SIM card quantity to which that cellphone quantity was to be swapped, prosecutors mentioned.

The fees come eight months after federal prosecutors charged Richard Yuan Li of Hercules, California, with conspiracy to commit fraud for his alleged function in a SIM swap rip-off that focused at the very least twenty individuals. Li was in possession of an iPhone 8 which the variety of at the very least one among DeFiore’s victims was routed to, prosecutors mentioned.

The alleged sufferer was a New Orleans-area medical physician with cryptocurrency accounts at exchanges together with Binance, Bittrex, Coinbase, Gemini, Poloniex, ItBit, and Neo Pockets. Li and his co-conspirators then allegedly accessed the doctor’s e mail and cryptocurrency accounts and stole a “good portion” of the sufferer’s holdings.

Prosecutors went on to allege that even after the physician recovered the cellphone account, Li or one among his co-conspirators known as the physician to say he had seen photographs within the physician’s Gmail account and balances within the physician’s cryptocurrency accounts. The caller then demanded 100 bitcoins, value about $640,000 on the time, in change for not publishing the pictures or stealing the cryptocurrency.

Prosecutors didn’t establish the cellphone firm DeFiore labored for, however this LinkedIn profile lists a Stephen DiFiore who works as a Verizon customer support consultant in Brandon, Florida. Verizon representatives didn’t instantly reply to an e mail in search of remark for this story. Makes an attempt to achieve DeFiore weren’t profitable.


This week’s costs come as so-called SIM swapping crimes proceed to proliferate, motivated largely by criminals’ makes an attempt to acquire giant quantities of cryptocurrency in on-line accounts. As soon as a perpetrator obtains management over victims’ cellphone accounts, the perp sometimes makes use of that entry to finish account resets for e mail accounts and from there resets passwords for different accounts.

If convicted, DeFiore faces a most of 5 years in jail and a nice of as much as $250,000. Earlier this week, European officers introduced the arrests of 10 individuals in reference to a sequence of SIM-swapping assaults that reaped greater than $100 million.

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