Several months ago, police in Canton, Michigan, were called by a concerned mother when she overheard her teenage son strangely impersonating an AT&T employee while on the phone. Investigators looked into the incident and stumbled upon a mega multi-state SIM card hijacking ring that likely involved at least eight other suspects.
The suspect in custody is a minor, so he is referred to as CS1 in court documents. After CS1’s mother heard him on the phone, authorities showed up to search his room and computer to learn about his intentions. Authorities discovered a huge database filled with the names and phone numbers of dozens of AT&T and T-Mobile customers. They also found multiple cell phones and SIM cards.
Detectives eventually learned that CS1 had been given multiple SIM cards from victims spanning at least seven states. Multiple victims caught up in the scheme told police that they had been victims of identity theft. Many claimed they had been robbed of hundreds to thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency.
CS1 eventually told authorities how the illegal ring worked. Others invovled in the ring would steal personal information from the AT&T or T-Mobile customers and forward the information to CS1. CS1 would then impersonate the individual and contact the wireless cell provider for a new SIM card in that victim’s name. Once they received the SIM card, they would crack passwords tied to the phone number and gain illegal entry into the victim’s cryptocurrency accounts. They would take all the funds and transfer them to their own accounts. CS1 claims that more than $100,000 in cryptocurrency had been laundered in this process.
CS1 plans on pleading not guilty to all charges. Another suspect, Ricky Handschumacher, has been arrested in connection with the scam. He has confessed to his involvement.