UK hacker may be extradited to US for SIM-Swap Crypto Fraud
A sim-swap fraud that attacked a Boston bitcoin broker in mid-2021 resulted in the extradition of a 24-year-old United Kingdom man to the United States.
Following a cryptocurrency scam that occurred between May and July of 2017, 24-year-old Robert Barr faces extradition to the United States. It is claimed that Barr and Corey De Rose stole money from Reggie Middleton of Boston before moving it to a different cryptocurrency wallet.
In the “sim-swap” fraud, the scammer takes over the phone number of the victim and uses it on another device without their knowledge or consent. That phone number will begin getting messages from the fraudster including access to email and passwords, as well as crypto wallet accounts linked with that phone number.
Hackers Barr and Anthony Frances Faulks, both of the United States, gained access to a woman’s phone in May of last year and stole just under £500,000, which they then diverted to other cryptocurrency wallets. A grand jury in Georgia will hear eight counts against Barr in 2020, including wire fraud and identity theft, according to U.S. prosecutors.
Following an alert from the FBI, the Scottish police detained Barr in February 2021. Barr was remanded in jail when he appeared in court, and the extradition process officially started in April of this year.
In October 2021, he was freed on bail and returned to his mother in Kilbirnie. However, Barr’s motion to dismiss the continuing investigation and an arrest warrant was rejected last week. An extradition hearing is scheduled for later this year.
He won his extradition case in January of this year, despite the fact that De Rose, 22, has Asperger’s syndrome as well. In 2017, he was also accused of hacking into a cryptocurrency account.
Former hacker claims Barr went “too far”
An old acquaintance who was part of a gang of adolescent hackers that included Barr said that Barr was sometimes reckless.
“We were around 15 or 16 years old at the time, and it was great for me.” Since these accounts are usually dormant and underused, there is no harm in selling them to others in search of a certain username. In my opinion, Robert was unaware of the seriousness of his acts and saw them as “simply computer activity.”
Customers of AT&T and T-Mobile were both sued last year after losing $560,000 in crypto to sim-swap fraud and $7,300 in their Coinbase accounts, respectively.
Because the money is not lost as a result of a security breach on Coinbase’s end, but rather as a result of a stolen identity, cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase do not refund SIM-swap fraud victims.