SIM Swapper Who Stole Money from Victims Bank Accounts Arrested by Spanish Police
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Last week the Spanish Police arrested SIM swappers who stole money from the victim’s bank accounts.

According to Policía Nacional, Spain’s National Police Agency, last week dismantled an unnamed organization connected with a series of SIM swapping attacks that were carried out with the goal of financial fraud, arresting eight individuals involved. 

The suspected individuals posed as trustworthy representatives of banks and other organizations and used traditional phishing and smishing techniques to obtain the personal information and bank data of victims before draining money from their accounts.

The police said, “They usurped the identity of their victims through the falsification of official documents and tricked employees of telephone stores into getting the duplicate SIM cards, cards where they received security confirmation messages from banks that allowed them to empty their victims’ accounts.” 

As part of the illicit operation as many as 12 bank accounts were frozen, seven were arrested in Barcelona and one in Seville. The group carried out its first SIM swapping fraud earlier in March 2021. The bad actors targeted mobile carriers to gain access to the victim’s bank accounts, virtual currency accounts, and other sensitive information. They achieved it via social engineering, insider threat, or phishing techniques.

Attackers would impersonate a victim, tricking the mobile carrier to switch the victim’s mobile number to a SIM card under their control. They would also indulge in activities such as bribing an employee of the mobile carrier or tricking the employees into downloading malware used to break into systems and conduct the SIM swaps.

Once the phone numbers are ported the bad actors are able to carry out numerous activities such as performing account resets, bypassing SMS-based two-factor authentication protections, and seizing control of the target’s online accounts.

Rise in SIM Swapping Incidents
There has been a considerable amount of increase in SIM swapping incidents, with bad actors stealing millions of dollars from victims’ cryptocurrency wallets and bank accounts. Earlier in November 2021, a Uk national was prosecuted by the US for orchestrating a SIM-swapping attack to siphon $784,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

Later in December 2021, a member of an international hacking group known as The Community was prosecuted in connection with a multimillion-dollar SIM swapping conspiracy.

The FBI has already raised an alarm about the rise in SIM swapping incidents and said it received around 1,611 SIM-swapping complaints that resulted in adjusted losses of more than $68 million from January to December 2021. While earlier from 2018 to 2020 the agency received 320 complaints related to SIM-swapping incidents from 2018 to 2020, with adjusted losses of about $12 million.

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