21-Year-Old 'SIM Swapper' Arrested After Allegedly Stealing $1 Million in Cryptocurrency

Nicholas Truglia, a 21-year-old resident of New York, has reportedly been accused of stealing $1 million in digital currency by using a “SIM swapping” fraud technique.

Truglia, who lives on Manhattan, New York’s upscale 42nd street, managed to hack into smartphones belonging to six people. After obtaining personal information from their mobile devices, he was able to steal a million dollars in virtual currency from one of them.

The victim has been identified as Robert Ross, a wealthy executive who resides in San Francisco’s Silicon Valley. Ross has alleged that Truglia obtained his private passwords and other personal details by hacking into his phone.

$1 Million Stolen From Victim's Coinbase, Gemini Accounts

According to the executive, the 21-year-old stole $1 million (total) in digital assets from his accounts at San Francisco-based crypto exchange, Coinbase, and New York-based trading platform, Gemini.

Ross explained that he first sensed something was wrong when his cell phone went dark - presumably an effect of the malicious SIM swapping technique. He also said that he needed the money as it was supposed to be used to pay for his daughters’ college tuition.

Police officials managed to track Truglia down and he was taken into custody by the REACT (Regional Enforcement Allied Computer Team) Task Force - which is “a diversified partnership of local, state, and federal agencies formed in cooperation with private industry to combat the escalating problem of high technology crime.”

At present, Truglia has been detained at a facility in Manhattan. However, his trial will reportedly be held in California (the same state as the victim). Notably, Truglia will be facing 21 different charges (all felonies).

What Is SIM Swapping?

SIM swapping is a fraud that involves an attacker tricking customer support representatives at a cellphone company by pretending to be someone they’re not (stealing someone’s identity). After convincing the company’s support team, the scammer is able to gain access to the victim’s personal details - which allows them to obtain a SIM card through an account that belongs to another person.

As CryptoGlobe reported in August, a cryptocurrency trader named Michael Turpin had accused his phone service provider, AT&T, of failing to protect his privacy. Turpin had alleged that AT&T’s support team acted negligently as hackers were able to steal $24 million in digital currency from his accounts.

He also filed a $224 million lawsuit against AT&T in which he claimed that AT&T’s employees "actively cooperated with hackers" and gave them access to private customer information. The hackers allegedly used the victim's phone number to steal millions in cryptocurrency.