A Manhattan man is alleged to have stolen $1m in cryptocurrency from a Silicon Valley executive in a classic SIM swapping attack.
Nicholas Truglia, 21, allegedly targeted several victims including Saswata Basu, CEO of blockchain service 0Chain Myles Danielsen, vice-president of Hall Capital Partners and Gabrielle Katsnelson, co-founder of startup SMBX.
He was apparently able to hijack all of their mobile phone accounts, convincing carrier staff to transfer their numbers to new SIMs, but didn’t managed to grab any funds as a result.
However, a fourth victim wasn’t so lucky. San Francisco father-of-two, Robert Ross, also had his account hijacked and this time Truglia was allegedly able to use it to access $500,000 in a Coinbase account and $500,000 in a Gemini account.
Typically, this is possible because SIM swap attackers are able to intercept the two-factor authentication codes sent via text message to ‘enhance’ account security.
Truglia was arrested at his West 42nd Street high-rise apartment where police were able to recover $300,000 in stolen funds. He now faces 21 counts related to six victims, according to reports.
The case highlights the growing pressure on mobile operator staff to ensure they carry out the appropriate identity checks on the phone or in store, when individuals request numbers to be ported to new SIMs.
However, sometimes the scammers may get help from individuals working on the inside.