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Michael Terpin, the victim of a SIM-swap fraud, will be paid $75.8 million in punitive and compensatory damages, which is one of the single largest court judgments awarded to an individual in a cryptocurrency-related affair.
The US cryptocurrency investor and entrepreneur Michael Terpin has won over $75 million in a case related to SIM-swap fraud. The amount will be paid in compensatory and punitive damages exceeding $50 million.
At the beginning of this year, Terpin filed the case against 21-year-old Nicholas Truglia who allegedly defrauded the investor of three million cryptocurrencies worth $23.8 million at the time after gaining control of his cellphone number.
In August of last year, we reported that Terpin sued telecoms firm AT&T for failing to protect his cellphone data. Alleging that the cellular service provider has been negligent in the protection of the customer data allowing hackers to get unauthorized access to his cell-phone account, Terpin sued AT&T for nearly $224 million.
“We, of course, are still actively pursuing our federal court case against AT&T, whose gross negligence we contend allowed these crimes to occur.”
He further stated:
“In recent incidents, law enforcement has even confirmed that AT&T employees profited from working directly with cyber terrorists and thieves in SIM swap frauds. Mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency cannot take place as long as phone company employees are handing over critical unauthorized access to the heart of everyone’s digital lives.”
As Reuters reported, Terpin’s tokens were stolen when Truglia and other criminals fraudulently transferred Terpin’s phone number to their control, which allowed them to reset passwords and access online accounts.
The California Superior Court ordered Truglia to pay $75.8 million in punitive and compensatory damages. According to Reuters, this amount is one of the single largest court judgments awarded to an individual in a cryptocurrency-related affair.
It is notable that Truglia was arrested in November for six other crimes. At that time, law enforcement was continuing to investigate the case. The U.S. Department of Justice found out that Truglia was a member of a criminal gang engaged in SIM swapping called ‘The Community.’ The criminal lived a luxurious life and spent money on lavish sports cars, luxury watches, and private jets.
Cases of SIM-swap scams, that generally target a customer’s services using SMS notifications, are taking place more and more often. In this kind of fraud, hackers act as the owners of victims’ mobile phone numbers and convince telecom providers to grant them access to their calls and messages by issuing a SIM with the same number.
As a result, they can gain access to important accounts, such as those held at crypto exchanges. The victims of such crimes also accuse mobile providers of not doing enough to protect their customers. Recently, the US law firm Silver Miller filed arbitration claims against AT&T and T-Mobile on behalf of victims who have been hacked in such a way.
When dealing with any type of data, users should be very careful. As many security measures as possible should be taken. Of course, when happens, cryptocurrency fraud will not go unpunished, but it is better to be on the safe side.