British “Sim Swap” Scam Gang Targeted American Celebrities

Spain's State Public Employment Service (SEPE) Website Hit By Cyber Attack

Spain's State Public Employment Service (SEPE) Website Hit By Cyber Attack. Image Source: Twitter

EIGHT people have been arrested in the UK charged with an elaborate Sim Swapping scam targetting US celebrities.

Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) said sports stars, musicians, and their families had been targeted by the major scam in which criminals gained access to victims’ phones or accounts by changing their sim card phone numbers to that of the gang

This allowed them to penetrate their accounts and contact details where they could steal money, bitcoin and personal information, as well as taking over victims’ social media accounts, the NCA said.

The arrests follow a massive probe that involved the US Secret Service and the FBI –  and unveiled a tech-savvy network a network of criminals operating in Britain who specialised in the scam. The British police said eight suspects, aged between 18 and 26, had been arrested in England and Scotland.

“This network targeted a large number of victims in the US and regularly attacked those they believed would be lucrative targets, such as famous sports stars and musicians,” said Paul Creffield, head of operations in the NCA’s cybercrime unit.

“As well as causing a lot of distress and disruption, we know they stole large sums from their victims, from either their bank accounts or bitcoin wallets.”

It has not yet been revealed which celebrities were targetted by the gang. Cybercrime is currently the world’s fastest-growing criminal enterprise, set to be worth more than the entire British economy by 2025.

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Oisin Sweeney

Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...