California authorities have reportedly arrested a student who is suspected of stealing 5 million dollars’ worth of Bitcoin and also a few Altcoins through a scam technique known as “Sim jacking”. Tech news site Motherboard which reported the incident also claims to have obtained that 20-year-old university student, Joel Ortiz, had been accused of jacking more than 40 phone numbers with the help a few accomplices. The 20-year-old was reportedly caught at the Los Angeles international airport while on his way to Europe. The youngster was arrested donning an expensive Gucci bag believed to have been acquired using the stolen money.
Ortiz will now answer for 28 charges, including 13 counts of identity theft, 13 counts of hacking and 2 counts of grand theft. It is reported that Ortiz and his accomplices targeted people who were into crypto-currencies and the blockchain and went on to hack several crypto investors. They also hacked a few crypto enthusiasts that had attended the blockchain conference consensus that was held in New York City last May. Joel Ortiz is currently in jail pending his plea hearing scheduled for the 9th of August with his bail set at 1 million dollars.
According to the popular tech site, motherboard, this is a one of a kind case because it will be the first time that a case involving someone who used Sim jacking to steal cryptocurrency was reported and heard. According to the publication, Sim jacking or Sim swapping involves playing a trick on a provider like T-Mobile and AT&T into transferring the victim’s phone number to a Sim card controlled by the con artist. Once the con artists acquire the phone numbers, they can leverage them to go ahead and reset the victim’s passwords and also access their online accounts including their crypto accounts. This may work regardless of whether their crypto accounts are under a two-factor authentication security system.
As mentioned earlier, Joel Ortiz and his calculating accomplices marked attendees of the blockchain conference consensus held in May this year and targeted them for theft. One crypto enthusiast who attended the event earlier this year shared his ordeal with tech publication, Motherboard, where he recounted his friend’s mobile phone going dead on him. He recalled them attending the crypto event together when all over sudden the phone could not boot, his friend, then texted him much later to inform him that his Sim Card had been hacked. According to the court documents obtained by Motherboard, Ortiz hacked the entrepreneur’s phone number, gained access to his Gmail account by resetting the password and went on to access his crypto accounts. The entrepreneur’s efforts to get his number back from AT&T later were too little too late.