A 24-year-old British man faces extradition to the United States after a sim-swap scam targeting a Boston-based cryptocurrency broker in mid-2021.
Robert Barr, 24, faces extradition to the United States following a crypto fraud in May and July 2017. Barr and Londoner Corey Deros robbed Boston broker Reggie Middleton before transferring the money to another crypto wallet, U.S. prosecutors said.
What is a “sim swap” scam?
A “sim-swap” scam is when a scammer transfers an individual’s phone number to another device without authorization. This allows scammers to start receiving communications related to that phone number, including access to email addresses, passwords, and of course, crypto wallets.
In May 2017, Barr and American Anthony Frances Faulks hacked into a woman’s phone, allowing them to steal less than £500,000 and transfer the funds to different crypto wallets. Barr faces eight charges in Georgia, including wire fraud and identity theft, following a grand jury investigation in 2020, according to U.S. prosecutors.
Barr’s situation so far
Barr was arrested by Police Scotland in February 2021 after the FBI tipped them off about his conduct. After appearing in court, Barr was remanded in custody ahead of extradition proceedings that officially began last April.
He was eventually bailed to his mother in Kilbney in October 2021.
However, last week, Barr’s request to dismiss the ongoing case and the warrant was denied. He is expected to face an extradition hearing later this year.
Deros, 22, who also has Asperger’s syndrome, won his extradition case in January. He was also accused of hacking a crypto account in 2017.
Barr went too far, ex-hacker says
Once part of a group of teenage hackers that included Barr, a former friend said Barr sometimes went too far.
“We’re young, about 15 to 16, and for me, it’s interesting…you can take accounts that are usually inactive and unused, so it’s not a loss to anyone, and sell them to other people who want to Whoever asked for that username. I don’t think Robert fully understood the seriousness of his actions and thought it was just something that happened on his computer.”
Barr’s mother and stepfather, who claimed to have no knowledge, declined to be interviewed by the media.
Telecom giant AT&T was indicted last year for a customer who lost $560,000 worth of cryptocurrency to a sim-swap fraud, while another man lost $7,300 in his Coinbase account after his T-Mobile account was sim-swap attacked Dollar.
Cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase will not reimburse funds lost through SIM swap fraud, as funds are not stolen through security breaches on their side, but through identity theft.
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