Family loses $75,000 in cryptocurrency to SIM card thieves

  PALM BAY, Fla. – With two young boys and a single income, “John” and “Lisa,” who chose not to reveal their actual names, were slowly building investments in cryptocurrency.

  On May 9, John was fishing and happened to check his crypto account on his smart phone.

  He said he was stunned to discover that $75,000 in his crypto account had dropped to $2,000.

  In a report filed with the Palm Bay Police on May 10, he wrote: “I know I had over $70,000. My wife checked with our family T-Mobile plan and the company confirmed someone swapped my SIM card at approximately 3:48 p.m.”

  John said his accounts with Coinbase and Coinbase Pro were emptied as he watched his phone screen.

  Coinbase investigators wrote that his account, “Was accessed from a Windows 10 device and the IP address: 107.XXX.XX.XXX [PHOENIX, ARIZONA – VPN] by entering your password, a 2-step verification SMS code sent to your verified mobile number, and completing the new device confirmation requirement via email.”

  John and Lisa said they were devastated because they had been saving for their two sons college education and a new home.

  The boys, just 6 and 8, have no idea their parents were victims of so-called SIM swapping or SIM hijacking.

  “Theres an online way to switch a SIM card on your own,” Sanks said. “You have a whole operation. Somebody that finds the accounts, somebody who specializes in switching these SIM cards…”

  Coinbase is insured but because the thieves were able to access the account using the proper smart phone security protocol, the lost money will not be reissued.

  The couple has set up a GoFundMe account.

  News 6 has learned that two other victims in the Palm Bay area reported SIM card swapping incidents but it is not clear how much was stolen.

  The secret service advises consumers to ask your phone carrier for additional security measures including :

  •   A 16-digit PIN

  •   Voice print authentication

  •   Facial authentication

  •   Two-factor authentication in which a code is sent to you and you send the code back from your cellphone

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