Crypto - Cellphone SIM/Port Hijacking


A subscriber identity module, widely known as a “SIM card,” stores user data in cellular phones on the Global System for Mobile (GSM) network -- the radio network used by companies such as AT&T and T-Mobile to provide cellular telephone service to their subscribers. SIM cards are principally used to authenticate cellphone subscriptions; as without a SIM card, GSM phones are not able to connect to AT&T’s or T-Mobile’s telecommunications network. Not only is a SIM card vital to using a phone on these networks, the SIM card also holds immeasurable value as a tool to identify the user of the phone -- a power that can be corrupted to steal the identity of that user. Silver Miller represents hundreds of victims in currently-active cases against AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and other mobile telecommunications carriers in this rapidly emerging area of theft and is investigating and evaluating additional claims against AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint -- as well as their off-brand or sub-brand resellers Metro by T-Mobile, Cricket Wireless, TracFone Wireless, Straight Talk, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and other carriers like Mint Mobile and U.S. Cellular -- at the present time. If you have experienced any of the problems, or the type of theft, described below, we urge you to fill out the Confidential Free Consultation form on this page for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal rights.

“SIM swapping,” or “SIM hijacking” is a growing crime in the telecommunications world that requires little more than a thorough Google search, a willing telecommunications carrier representative, and an electronic or in-person impersonation of the victim. To perpetrate the theft, the cellphone service provider negligently or purposefully allows an unauthorized person access to a wireless telephone account without the knowledge of the account holder. In either case, the cellphone service provider -- which has many statutory and common law duties to protect an accountholders’ private information and prevent such a theft from happening -- can bear legal responsibility for the theft and the stolen assets.

Typically, the theft begins when an unauthorized person contacts the provider’s technical support department on the phone, or walks into a retail store, pretending to be the accountholder. Claiming that he wants to activate a “new” phone, the thief convinces the provider to create a new SIM card to install in the thief’s “new” phone. Whether acting as a co-conspirator to the theft or through abject negligence, the provider then transfers to the unauthorized person the accountholder’s wireless telephone number -- disconnecting the telephone number from the actual accountholder’s wireless phone’s SIM card and then connecting the telephone number to a SIM card under the control of the unauthorized person. From there, the victim loses cellphone service, given that only one SIM card can be connected to the provider’s network with any given telephone number at a time.

Having gained control of the victim’s wireless phone, the thief then attempts to gain entry into the victim’s email accounts by entering the victim’s email address on Outlook, Gmail, or any other email provider, selecting the “Forgot Password” option, and then receiving a text message intended for the accountholder with a password reset code. Once inside the victim’s email account, the thief then scours information stored on the victim’s email account. The thief may also search for information stored on the victim’s wireless phone -- which has been wirelessly delivered to him by the service provider -- to find information such as passwords or other identifying information that would grant the thief access into the victim’s e-mail, banking, and investment accounts. Additionally, using the victim’s telephone number, the thief then diverts to himself access to the victim’s banking and investment accounts by using the victim’s telephone number as a “recovery method” -- even if the victim had two-factor authentication activated as a security measure on his accounts.

In several instances, SIM swap thieves have invaded victims’ bank accounts and even stolen their cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency, in fact, is one of the primary targets of SIM swapping thieves. As one of the nation’s leading advocates for cryptocurrency investors, we are uniquely skilled and prepared to assist victims of such theft in pursuing their claims and their efforts to recover their stolen assets.

Anyone victimized by SIM swapping who has had valuable assets taken from them due to a cellphone carrier’s failed security protocols -- especially if “enhanced security” was promised -- should contact Silver Miller to discuss his/her legal options. Silver Miller is at the forefront of cryptocurrency and financial fraud litigation and fights to protect investors.

If you believe you are the victim of SIM swap fraud or theft, contact us so we may discuss how we might be able to help you.