After losing cryptocurrencies worth millions of dollars to SIM hijackers, a tech entrepreneur and other victims have launched an initiative aimed at raising awareness and pushing telcos into protecting subscribers, Motherboard reports.
According to Robert Ross, who lost approximately US$1 million when fraudsters took control of his phone number and managed to gain access to his accounts on cryptocurrency exchanges, the problem is becoming rampant:
This is a major problem that’s growing fast. I really believe this is being enabled by the carriers.
The initiative dubbed ‘Stop SIM Crime’ will not only raise awareness on the issue but will also offer victims educational resources besides pressuring cell phone carriers into taking more concrete steps to stop SIM-hijackers.
Prior to the incident that cost him more than US$1 million worth of cryptocurrencies, Ross had not heard of SIM swapping or hijacking and there was also very little information about it online. The initiative’s website, stopsimcrime.org, aims to change this.
As reported by CCN in August last year, Ross was one of the victims caught up in the exploits of Joel Ortiz. Together with his accomplices, the SIM hijacker managed to generate more than US$5 million from SIM hijacking.
SIM Hijackers Steal Over $5 Million in Bitcoin in First Reported Crime of its Kind https://t.co/ZUR8fZK6EN
— CCN.com (@CryptoCoinsNews) August 1, 2018
Ortiz specifically targeted individuals in the blockchain and crypto sectors. During a blockchain technology summit held last year, he is alleged to have made more than US$1.5 million. He was only arrested after investigators obtained the International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers of the mobile devices he had been using in SIM swapping with the help of telecommunications giant AT&T.