SIM swapper charged in cryptocurrency theft scheme

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SIM swapper charged in cryptocurrency theft scheme

A University of California San Diego student named Richard Yuan Li was indicted on August 26th for a SIM swapping scheme that involved stealing phone numbers and accounts and extorting at least 40 people for cryptocurrency and other payments, according to a new release the US Department of Justice shared on Monday.

According to the indictment (PDF), Li convinced Apple customer service in 2018 to send him a replacement iPhone 8 for one he claimed was lost in the mail. Li and others then convinced carriers to port victims’ phone numbers to the iPhone 8 to take control of their accounts — and in some cases, drained their crypto wallets directly.

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“Li and his co-conspirators contacted victims and demanded that they pay ransoms in order to avoid further harm, including additional account compromises, the loss of additional cryptocurrency, and the release of victims’ confidentiality information the conspirators obtained,” the DOJ writes.

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