Home Scam 19-year-old hacks 75 phones to cart away $1m in cryptocurrency

19-year-old hacks 75 phones to cart away $1m in cryptocurrency

19-year-old Yousef Selassie is still facing trial in Manhattan Supreme Court for allegedly carting away around $1 million in cryptocurrency.

The teenager allegedly planned and executed series of attack on unsuspecting members of the public thereby robbing them off their digital assets.

Yousef allegedly stole the identities of 75 people and swiped $1 million in cryptocurrency all from the comfort of his Brooklyn apartment, authorities said.

The young teenager was said to have used a sophisticated SIM swapping scheme to take over the phones of people in 20 different states between Jan. 20 and May 19, 2019.

Yousef allegedly transferred his victims’ phone numbers to his own iPhone, enabling him to reset their passwords and gain access to their Gmail, cryptocurrency and other accounts.

However, as Yousef operates, his victims phone suddenly goes offline however, the stolen $1million Yousef robbed off from just two victims authorities revealed.

Before Yousef’s arrest on 5th Dec, authorities conducted a search of his residences in Brooklyn and California where they found and confiscated various luxury items.

These included six phones, a monogrammed Gucci wallet, two Rolex watches, and numerous pieces of high-end jewelry.

In court on Wednesday, Yousef pleaded not guilty to 87 counts of grand larceny, identity theft and other charges levelled against him.

Justice Mark Dwyer ordered him to surrender his passport and check in weekly with a supervised release program as the judge did not set bail.

With cryptocurrencies becoming more and more prominent, unfortunately it continues to attract the attention of criminals

Crypto scam victims clamour for change

SIM swapping has been one of the hot topics of 2019 in the crypto space, particularly after AT&T were held accountable in a multi-million-dollar SIM swapping case in July.

 Meanwhile T-Mobile were also hit by a spate of SIM swapping attacks the month prior.

SIM swapping victim Michael Terpin, who blames insiders at AT&T for his loss of $24 million in cryptocurrency, called for increased awareness of the activity by cell phone providers and a ‘no-porting’ option on cell contracts.

Other crypto fraud formats

Outside Yousef’s scam case, with cryptocurrency’s continued prominence across the globe, it continues to attract attention of criminal and because of crypto’s virtual nature, it remains prone to fraud and scam operations.

Crypto scammers however, have several formats they use to Robb unsuspecting victims of their digital assets.

 One out of this many ways is using a fraud wallet. Lately, a great deal of fraudulent wallets has been discovered on Google’s Play Store.

Though Google is making efforts to root these posers, their efforts are hindered by malicious developers which seed them by the hundreds.

Anyways, the latest crypto-wallet apps to be cloned was Trezor. So, what happens when victims use one of these apps to manage your portfolio? Money goes in and, it melts into nothingness.

Other ways are classic phishing, impersonation, overnight exchange, etc.

Muhaimin Olowoporoku
Muhaimin is a journalist and a crypto enthusiast. He believes in the Africa project and sees blockchain technology as a possible solution alongside developmental journalism


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