Task Force Nabs SIM-Swapping Cryptocurrency Thief Who Allegedly Stole $14 Million

  • Alleged $14 million crypto theft was carried out by stealing crypto wallet login access using ‘SIM swapping’ fraud technique.
  • Prevalence of SIM swapping has led to law enforcement attention from REACT

A suspect has been nabbed by the Authorities in Oklahoma for allegedly stealing $14 million in cryptocurrency. According to sources, he is a renowned “SIM swapper,” who steals victims’ cryptocurrencies through social engineering.

In September, as reported by Oklahoma News 4, the Secret Services arrested two SIM Swappers: Joseph Harris, 21, and Fletcher Robert Childers, 23. Sources claim Harris is known as “Doc,” and that he is a famous SIM swapper on the internet.

SIM Swapping and Crypto Theft

Hackers have reportedly been targeting account owners using SIM swapping, which is also known as SIM hijacking, or the port out scam. The basic idea behind the scam is to trick a cell phone provider into transferring their target's phone number to a SIM card they are controlling.

After tricking the providers, they use the SIM to reset the owner's passwords. These passwords are then used to log into their online accounts, enabling them to steal their cryptocurrency.

According to a statement of facts released by the authorities to Motherboard, Harris has been charged with identity theft, hacking, and grand larceny. He allegedly stole $14 million worth of cryptocurrency from a blockchain company, Crowd Machine, by hacking the startup's CEO on September 21.

REACT Responds

The CEO reported the theft to the Regional Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT), who were able to find and arrest Harris and Childers, who are yet to be charged, reportedly tracking down Harris in only three days.

Speaking to Motherboard, REACT investigator Dave Berry said:

He’s been pretty busy in the hacking world for a while. And he’s clearly very tech savvy.

Berry and his colleagues refused to confirm that Harris is "Doc,” but according to Motherboard, criminal sources have claimed Harris is indeed the famous hacker. Earlier, Ian Balina, a cryptocurrency investor who fell victim and lost over $2 million, named Doc and Veri as the hackers responsible.

Harris is only the last in an increasing list of arrests. In July, REACT arrested 20-year-old Joel Ortiz for stealing millions on cryptocurrency. A 25-year-old was also arrested by Florida’s authorities.

Before Harris's arrest, California cops arrested 19-year-old Xzavyer Narvaez, who bought luxury cars with stolen bitcoin. According to REACT commander John Rose, more arrests are set to happen in the coming months as authorities crack down on the practice of SIM swapping.

In his words

REACT isn’t going to stop the SIM swapping investigation until SIM swapping stops, if it’s gonna take us arresting every SIM swapper in United States.