Feds Nab Two Suspects in Alleged $550K Crypto-Fueled Scam

bitcoinTwo men were arrested by Boston authorities for an alleged scheme to steal people's social media accounts and cryptocurrencies. | Credit: grejak/Shutterstock.com

  • Two men have been charged with carrying out a nationwide cyber scheme.
  • The U.S. DOJ alleges the men stole, or tried to steal, more than $550,000 in cryptocurrencies.
  • The case comes in the wake of an uptick in cybercrime.

Two Massachusetts men were arrested on Thursday and charged with carrying out a nationwide scheme to steal peoples social media accounts and their cryptocurrency.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Eric Meiggs, 21, and Declan Harrington, 20, targeted at least 10 victims in the country.

Meiggs and Harrington allegedly stole, or attempted to steal, over $550,000 in cryptocurrency from these victims alone using techniques such as SIM swapping, computer hacking, and other methods.

SIM Swapping

SIM swapping is a method used by fraudsters to hack into various accounts and steal sensitive data, such as financial details related to cryptocurrency.

Generally, SIM swapping involves convincing cellular providers to reassign a victims phone number to an account on the cybercriminals phone.

Cybercriminals typically try to convince cell phone providers by offering legitimate reasons, such as claiming they have a new phone after their old one was lost or damaged. Sometimes they also attempt to lure an employee of a cellular carrier through bribery.

Once the switch is complete, cybercriminals hack into their victims accounts via bypassing security barriers like two-factor identification and reset their passwords. From there, cybercriminals go about accessing their victims cryptocurrency.

Cybercrime on the Rise

Since 2018, cases of SIM hijacking have become increasingly common.And the technique can impact anyone, regardless of wealth or influence.

Meiggs and Harrington allegedly targeted executives of cryptocurrency companies and those who had high value or OG (slang for Original Gangster) social media account names.

This isnt the first time high-profile individuals have been targeted. In May, the engineering manager at cryptocurrency custodian BitGo, Sean Coonce, publicly revealed he was the victim of SIM hacking.

According to Coonce in a tweet, hackers stole bitcoin worth more than $100,000 from his Coinbase account.

In the same month, the U.S. DOJ announced it had charged nine individuals who either participated or aided in stealing crypto worth over $2.4 million. The overall theft translated to an average haul of more than $345,000 for each attack.

Throughout 2018, blockchain analytics firm CipherTrace said that roughly $1.7 billion in cryptocurrency was stolen or scammed.

In February, a Boston man became the

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Tags: Cryptocurrency, United States Department of Justice, computer crime, victimology, SIM swap scam, Security hacker, United States of America, Meiggs, Social media, scheme