20-year-old imprisoned for $1M crypto SIM-swap scam

A 20-year-old Florida man who was part of a group that stole close to $1 million in crypto in a series of SIM swap attacks has been sentenced to 30 months in jail, reports The Register.

Between March 2021 and September 2022, Jordan Persad, alongside several co-conspirators, purchased access logs that contained the credentials of victims’ email addresses, hijacked their cell phone numbers, and gained unauthorized access to their online crypto accounts.

In a plea agreement, Persad describes one instance of the group accessing the account of an Arizona resident and stealing $28,000 worth of crypto. “My co-conspirators and I then divided the stolen cryptocurrency amongst ourselves,” Persad said. 

Read more: Texas city locals warned of crypto scam impersonating FBI

Persad, who knew some of his co-conspirators by their online names, personally made $475,000 from the scheme. In total, the gang defrauded victims out of somewhere in the region of $950,000. Following his guilty plea on May 1 this year, Persad has been ordered to pay $945,833 in restitution

As noted by The Register, this process described in the plea agreement is not the usual sequence we see in cases of SIM swapping. Typically, an attempt to assign someone else’s SIM to your phone takes place first before an attempt is made to hack into other accounts.

As detailed by The Register, the attack bears striking similarities to a cybercrime collective known as Scattered Spider. The group began its illegal activities last year with SIM swapping and phishing attacks before graduating to ransomware and extortion.

Scattered Spider is now thought to be working with ransomware as a service outfit BlackCat and earlier this year owned up to being behind attacks on Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts.

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