The Merkle

T-Mobile Faces Lawsuit Over Stolen Crypto Funds

T-Mobile is one of the biggest mobile carriers in the US. This status does not protect it from lawsuits being filed against it, though. One T-Mobile customer has decided to file a lawsuit after hackers stole his cryptocurrency portfolio. In his opinion, the company failed to enforce sufficient security measures. Several thousand dollars worth of money was stolen, including some BitConnect funds.

T-Mobile Finds Itself in a Pickle

It is never fun to hear about people having their cryptocurrency portfolios stolen. Anyone who relies on exchanges or online wallets to store cryptocurrency funds is always at risk of losing money in one way or another. According to the lawsuit against T-Mobile, the mobile provider did not enact sufficient security measures to keep the hackers out. As it happened, the user lost access to his account altogether because the culprits had taken over his T-Mobile account, which is absolutely unacceptable in this day and age.

Carlos Tapang filed the lawsuit after noticing his family’s phones suddenly restarted and were wiped of all their data without warning. After getting in touch with T-Mobile, he found out his phone number had been canceled and ported to AT&T. While it is not uncommon for people to change mobile providers, this change of heart was not initiated by Tapang or any of his family members. If someone provides sufficient personal information, they can simply have things switched over to a new provider in a matter of minutes.

It seems at least one hacker – or potentially a group of hackers – provided T-Mobile with sufficient information to trick a call center operator into porting Tapang’s number to AT&T. With this phone number under their control, the culprits gained access to one of Tapang’s cryptocurrency accounts and changed the password. All holdings in this account were liquidated on the open market. According to sources, the account held 1,000 OMG tokens and 19.6 BitConnect coins. A total of 2.875 Bitcoin was then transferred out of Tapang’s account.

Even though this attack occurred on November 7, Tapang only recently decided to take T-Mobile to court. As cryptocurrency transfers are non-refundable, the financial loss is squarely on him. The exchange affected by this “hack” is not to blame, as the assailants had access to Tapang’s phone number to verify and authorize all transactions. Claiming T-Mobile is the “bad seed” may also be a stretch too far, even though the company could make it harder for people to switch phone numbers to a different carrier over the phone.

The lawsuit claims the US telco failed to implement a security measure outlined in its own policies. More specifically, users can attach a private PIN to their account as an extra layer of security. Even though Tapang has such a private PIN, the transfer of his phone number was authorized without this code. It is evident a call center operator is to blame in this regard, even though the parent company failed to train its staffers properly. It’s a very dicey situation which will hopefully have a positive outcome.

It is evident the theft of Tapang’s BitConnect balance may not be a bad thing. This notorious Ponzi scheme has collapsed entirely in recent weeks and the value per BCC has plummeted. That doesn’t mean Tapang shouldn’t be reimbursed for losing his money, though. This debacle further highlights the need for people to store cryptocurrencies in an offline manner. Leaving money on an exchange or online wallet is asking for trouble, regardless of how little you may own.