A 21-year old U.S. citizen has been arrested after being accused of stealing $1 million in cryptocurrencies. Apparently, the suspect used a technic known ‘SIM-swapping.’ The information was released by the New York Post on November 20.
The individual, known as Nicholas Truglia, hacked into the phones of Silicon Valley executives located in the Bay Area. The main intention was to steal their virtual currencies. Several firms use automated messages or phone calls as a two-factor authentication.
Truglia was able to steal $1 million dollars from Robert Ross from San Francisco using the SIM-swapping scheme. According to the reports, Ross’ phone went dark on October 26 and $500,000 dollars he had in Coinbase and Gemini disappeared in a matter of seconds.
In order to process the transaction, Truglia transformed the cash into cryptocurrencies and sent the money to his own account. After it, he withdrew the funds to his personal account.
Other victims were Sawata Basu, CEO of 0Chain, Myles Danielsen, vice president of Hall Capital Partners, and Gabrielle Katsnelson, the co-founder of SMBX. Nevertheless, Truglia was not able to steal anything from them.
Deputy DA Erin West of Santa Clara Superior Court commented on this issue:
“You’re sitting in your home, your phone is in front of you, and you suddenly become aware there is no service because the bad guy has taken control of your phone number.”
Erin West is part of the Santa Clara REACT task force that is behind SIM-swapping cases all over the United States. In order to arrest Truglia, the team flew to New York on November 14 where he was found on his apartment. The agents were able to recover $300,000 dollars in stolen funds that were stored on the users’ hardware wallet.
At the moment of writing this article,Truglia is being held at the Manhattan Detention Complex waiting for an extradition to Santa Clara. Some of the charges include grand theft, altering or damaging computer data and using personal information without authorization.
Although Truglia was captured, the prosecutors believe that Truglia was working with a crew.
“The takeaway here to the hacker is, ‘We don’t care where you’re located, we are a task force based in Silicon Valley, and our reach is nationwide,’” West explained.
Truglia was also in the news back in September saying that a group of friends tried to steal him $1.2 million dollars in Bitcoin. At that time, he said that it is common for thieves to target individuals with cryptocurrencies.