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SIM Swap Victim Who Lost Millions Asks FCC to Put a Stop to This Type of Scam

An American investor who reportedly lost millions worth of cryptocurrency has written an open letter to the country’s Federal Communication Commission (FCC). He is demanding that decisive action be taken to stop this crime.

Michael Terpin’s Open Letter

Michael Terpin claims he was the victim of two SIM swap attacks that happened in the past seven months. He alleges that the two incidents caused him to lose $24 million worth of digital currencies.

SIM swapping is a scam wherein the telecom provider transfers the victim’s mobile number to another SIM card held by a hacker. These cards can be purchased on sites like eBay and can be used on a burner phone.

Once the victim’s number is transferred, the hacker can then change passwords for vital and private services features like email accounts and crypto-wallets. 

An officer of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s department, Samy Tarazi, shared that people as young as 19 and 22 could steal millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies. The sergeant added they’re now seeing incidents where someone gets a SIM card worth 99 cents on eBay, plugs it in a cheap phone, calls someone and steals millions.

Terpin’s experience prompted him to write an open letter to the FCC addressed to Ajit Pai, the organization’s chairman. He asked the regulator to take steps to bring SIM swap hackers to justice and put an end to this type of scam.

Suggestion to All Mobile Carriers

In his letter, Terpin proposed that the FCC mandates all mobile carriers in the US to hide their client’s passwords and PIN from employees. 

He suggested telecom providers should be required to inform customers they can choose to avail of high-security mobile plans that include a “no port” feature. It would enable the user to have the option for their account to pass through a fraud department before their SIM data is ported to a new device.

The investor said that he’s in touch with more than 50 people who have been victimized by SIM swapping, and all of them have suffered significant financial losses. Terpin said he plans to meet up with the FCC head during the Mobile World Congress Americas. The event will be held in Los Angeles, and both Pai and Terpin are attending as speakers.

Terpin was convinced that he fell victim to the SIM swapping case because AT&T had supplied the hackers access to his mobile number. He consequently filed a $224 million claim against the wireless service provider back in 2018. However, the case was dismissed in July of this year. The judge presiding over the matter said the defendant failed to “sufficiently allege proximate cause.” 

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