US SIM SWAP case heads for trial

6th August 2019 Media Law

Media outlets in the US are reporting that a Judge at the Central District of California Court has denied US Telecoms giant AT&T the opportunity to strike out a SIM swap case.


Mr Terpin is well-known in the cryptocurrency community. In June 2017, his phone suddenly stopped working, the reason was that his number had been hacked. According to the Court proceedings, hackers had attempted and failed eleven times to change Mr Terpin’s AT&T password in the AT&T stores, however they eventually changed his password remotely.

When the hackers had gained control of Mr Terpin’s mobile number, they diverted his personal information including text messages and phone calls to another SIM to gain access to his accounts.

The telephone number was used to gain access to cryptocurrency accounts and the hackers impersonated Mr Terpin so that Mr Terpin’s own client sent Cryptocurrency, which was then diverted to the hackers account.

AT&T were able to cut off the hackers and Mr Terpin’s account was given “higher security level with special protection„ status.

In January 2018, Mr Terpin’s phone again became inoperable and it was alleged in Court that an employee of AT&T had assisted with the SIM swap. When Mr Terpin’s phone again became inoperable, he contacted AT&T but he says that they failed to promptly cancel his account.

Nearly $24 Million of Cryptocurrency was stolen by the hackers.

What is SIM Swap?

SIM swap fraud occurs when a stranger tricks a phone company into sending them a new SIM card for the phone account.

Fraudsters will use a new SIM card to access the functionality and services the number provides, including accessing bank accounts and other online accounts. They may also use the phone to make calls or use the victim’s data allowance.

What Did the US Court Say?

The Court denied AT&T request to strike out the case, but it did agree with AT&T in parts.

It is not just wealthy cryptocurrency dealers who are at risk of such scams - ordinary people have also been scammed out of money.

However, this case illustrates the extent of the losses which can be suffered as a result of SIM swap.

We will watch this case progress with great interest.

If you have been a victim of a SIM swap scam and would like a Solicitor to check to see if you can claim compensation get in touch with JMW Solicitors today. Thankfully not all cases involve the loss of such substantial sums of money, but if you have been a victim of SIM swap you may have a claim. Contact us by calling 0345 872 6666.

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Dominic Walker is a Solicitor located in Manchesterin our Media Law department

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