ZachXBT, a pseudonymous on-chain sleuth, has uncovered the alleged involvement of a Canadian scammer named Yahya in more than 17 SIM swaps, resulting in the theft of over $4.5 million. Yahya’s role was to conduct account searches on various platforms, particularly X/Twitter, using his panel. This allowed another scammer named Skenkir to identify potential targets in the United States for SIM swap attacks. Yahya received a percentage of the funds obtained through each successful attack as compensation for his services.
One notable incident occurred in July 2023 when Yahya collaborated with HZ, a scammer whose assets had been seized by the FBI, to defraud an individual named Amir of $250,000. They claimed to be selling access to Yahya’s control panel, inadvertently exposing Yahya’s wallet address in the process. Upon further analysis, ZachXBT discovered that the same address was reused for the panel scam as well as the SIM swap payments, effectively linking all of Yahya’s activities.
In total, Yahya received more than 390 ETH (worth around $720K) to his address from the SIM swap attacks. ZachXBT provided three examples of victims, including a GCG team member, Bitboy Crypto aka Ben Armstrong, Slingshot, and PleasrDAO core team member Jamis, who recently suffered a traumatic brain injury.
According to ZachXBT, Yahya spent thousands of dollars on luxury watches and unreleased songs by Juice WRLD. The crypto detective also noted that Yahya showed little remorse for his actions when confronted by people. Prior to his involvement in unlawful activities, Yahya had made contributions to Benzinga, a Detroit-based financial news website, as an SMM. ZachXBT finds it puzzling why someone would willingly take the risk of conducting lookups for SIM swaps when all trails eventually lead back to them.
ZachXBT hopes that his findings can serve as a basis for taking action against scammers like Yahya who have harmed many people through SIM swaps and phishing. He has archived chat records and other evidence that can be provided to victims.
SIM swap attacks have been a growing concern, with prominent figures such as OpenAI’s CTO, Mira Murati, Daniel Alegre, the CEO of Bored Ape, and the Aptos Foundation falling victim to such attacks. These high-profile individuals collectively suffered losses exceeding $13 million. Even Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin’s Twitter account was hacked last month due to a SIM swap attack.
It is crucial for individuals to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to protect themselves from such attacks.
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