There are numerous ways for cryptocurrency enthusiasts and speculators to lose their funds. In a lot of cases, this is due to an error on their part. However, there are external circumstances which often go beyond the user’s control. Especially when it comes to SIM swap fraud and similar criminal business models, things get out of hand fairly quickly.
Verizon Users Loses Thousands of Dollars
Cryptocurrency users have fallen victim to mobile phone hijacking over the past few years. This particular method is used by criminals as a way to gain full control over one’s mobile number. In most cases, the end goal is to take over the number in order to bypass any two-factor authentication security associated with online accounts. Especially when it comes to cryptocurrency exchanges, SMS authentication is very commonly used in this day and age.
For one Verizon user, things spiraled out of control in rather quick succession. The user received a text which seemingly indicated he was on the phone with Verizon and authenticated his account through an “alternative method”. Users often give their customer number, an address, ID card number, or something similar to prove they are the genuine account owner. In this case, the hacker just provided correct billing information, which should never be sufficient to take over a phone number.
In the text message, a phone number is depicted where potential victims of mobile phone hijacking can get in touch with Verizon’s customer support. The number in question worked fine, but getting a hold of an operator is a different matter altogether. Even on Twitter, the response from their customer support is abysmal, but that is par for the course these days. A lot of mobile operators struggle to provide sufficient and adequate support when incidents like these take place.
Because the user could not get the support he needed, the hacker simply began taking over all of his accounts. This includes the Gmail and Coinbase account both of which are authenticated through the mobile number in question. Within a few minutes, the hacker cleaned out the Coinbase account and stole 1.18 Bitcoin without raising any alarms. Shortly after, the Litecoin and Ethereum balances were sent to brand new addresses as well.
While there are a lot of questions regarding Verizon’s role in all of this, it is rather evident this can happen to anyone. It is not just native to US providers either, as any criminal can obtain billing information and other personal details on most cryptocurrency users. All they need is social media – where a lot of information is shared publicly – or purchase the information cheaply from other sources. Once a hacker gains control over one’s exchange account, things will go from bad to worse in the blink of an eye.
All of this further shows cryptocurrency users need to be very careful regarding the information they share on social media. It is no secret Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram a real monitored closely by criminals looking for new targets to exploit. Even just saying how one uses platform X, Y, or Z can be sufficient to attract the wrong crowd. Incidents like these will continue to occur for the foreseeable future, until more and more users begin moving money off exchanges the instant they receive it.
Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency or digital currency.