Scheme to Steal Social Media Accounts Results in Two Arrests

Two Massachusetts men have been arrested and charged in a nationwide scheme to take over victims’ social media accounts and steal their cryptocurrency information. The individuals charged used a technique called “SIM swapping” to hack into the accounts and steal the information.

Eric Meiggs, 21, of Brockton, Massachusetts, and Declan Harrington, 20, of Rockport, Massachusetts, were charged in an 11-count indictment, charging them with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of computer fraud and abuse, and one count of aggravated identity theft.

According to the Department of Justice release, Meiggs and Harrington targeted executives of cryptocurrency companies and other individuals who seemed likely to harbor significant amounts of cryptocurrency. The DOJ has identified at least 10 victims from whom the individuals stole over $550,000 in cryptocurrency.

The indictment explains that “SIM swapping” allows cybercriminals to convince a victim’s cell phone carrier to reassigning the victim’s cell phone number from the SIM card inside the victim’s cell phone to the SIM card inside a cell phone controlled by the criminals. The hackers can then pose as the victims to retrieve password reset links or authentication codes. The criminals then reset the passwords, leaving the account in their control.

Meiggs was able to access “OG” (internet slang for “original gangster”) internet accounts that are known for harboring significant cryptocurrency reserves.

The FBI and IRS-CI are investigating the case.  Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Harman Burkart, Chief of the Cybercrime Unit, are prosecuting the case. 

Posted in The Takedown

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