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US man sentenced to prison for 10 years over SIM hijacking scam

Photo: AFP

A US college student who stole more than $5 million in cryptocurrency by hijacking the phone numbers of 40 people has been sentenced to prison for 10 years.

Joel Ortiz accepted the plea deal last week, reported Motherboard.

The authorities believe Ortiz is the first person to be convicted of a crime for SIM swapping, an increasingly popular and damaging hack. The practice involves someone transferring a phone number to a different SIM card, without the owner’s approval. The thief will call a phone carrier and say that they lost their SIM card, and ask to get the number ported to another phone. If successful, they can then take over their target’s accounts by intercepting their two-factor authentication texts.

Ortiz will be officially sentenced on March 14.


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