This week law enforcement agencies around the world made press releases about the arrest of SIM Swapping criminals. The UK's National Crime Agency says "eight men have been arrested in England and Scotland as part of an investigation into a series of SIM swapping attacks, in which criminals illegally gained access to the phones of high-profile victims in the US. They say these attacks targeted "numerous victims throughout 2020, including well-known influencers, sports stars, musicians, and their families." NCA credits the US Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI, and the Santa Clara California District Attorney's Office for helping to uncover the network.
Paul Creffield, head of operations in the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit and Assistant Director Michael D'Ambrosio were quoted in the NCA's press release, "Brits arrested for sim swapping attacks on US celebs" on February 9th. The @NCA_UK Twitter thread shared the additional details that the men were between the ages of 18 and 26.
This case would not be the first linking UK criminals with US Phone company employees. In 2019, a hacking group calling itself "The Community" paid bribes to three phone company employees, Jarratt White and Robert Jack, both 22 year-olds working at phone stores in Tucson, Arizona, and Fendley Joseph, a 28 year-old in Murrietta, California, to carry out SIM swaps for their group. Ireland-based hacker Conor Freeman, aged 20, was charged in that case for seven SIM-swaps that led to the theft of $2,416,352 worth of cryptocurrency. It is unknown at this time if the current cases are further work of "The Community" or its former members. The Community wasn't a place online, just the name of their group. Most of their members were participants on the OG Users forum. For example Jarratt White, who worked at an AT&T store, used the handle ".O." on Telegram and received payments via LocalBitcoins and PayPal, where his email "firstname.lastname@example.org" was linked. AT&T confirmed that WHITE had performed 29 unauthorized SIM swaps. Robert JACK, also an AT&T contractor who worked in their store in Tucson, also performed 12 SIM swap. Fendley JOSEPH worked at a Verizon store in Murrietta and also communicated with The Community members via Telegram. He was also identified by his PayPal account where he received $3,500 in bribes (email@example.com)