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California Man Sues AT&T Over Loss of $1.8M and Crypto Accounts


California resident Seth Shapiro has filed a lawsuit against wireless service giant AT&T alleging that its employees helped to perpetrate a SIM-swap which resulted in the theft of over $1.8 million in total, including cryptocurrencies.

The complaint filed on Oct. 17 claims that Shapiro is “a two-time Emmy Award-winning media and technology expert, author, and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.” The lawsuit alleges that between May 16 and May 18 AT&T employees transferred access to Shapiro’s mobile phone to outside hackers:

“AT&T employees obtained unauthorized access to Mr. Shapiro’s AT&T wireless account, viewed his confidential and proprietary personal information, and transferred control […] to a phone controlled by third-party hackers in exchange for money. […] The hackers then utilized their control over Mr. Shapiro’s AT&T wireless number […] to access his personal and digital finance accounts and steal more than $1.8 million.”

All accounts compromised

The document states that these actions allowed the hackers to also access Shapiro’s personal accounts on several cryptocurrency exchanges:

“While third parties had control over Mr. Shapiro’s AT&T wireless number, they used that control to access and reset the passwords for Mr. Shapiro’s accounts on cryptocurrency exchange platforms including KuCoin, Bittrex, Wax, Coinbase, Huobi, Crytopia, LiveCoin, HitBTC, Coss.io, Liqui, and Bitfinex.”

The plaintiff also claims to be in possession of chat logs in which AT&T employees and hackers discuss how the stolen money should be routed and brag about how much they took.

History repeating

Shapiro also claims that he fell victim to SIM-swapping multiple times, therefore his personal information and online accounts were already leaked in the past. The complaint states:

“AT&T’s Repeated Failures to Protect Mr. Shapiro’s Account from Unauthorized Access Are a Violation of Federal Law.”

More precisely, Shapiro alleges that AT&T is in violation of the Federal Communications Act for failing to protect the confidentiality of his account information. 

He also claims that the telecom giant violated several California state’s laws, including the Unfair Competition Law, the Constitutional Right to Privacy and the Consumers Legal Remedy Act. Lastly, Shapiro also accuses AT&T of two acts of negligence.

Notably, this is not the first lawsuit against AT&T over SIM-swapping. As Cointelegraph reported on July 27, the federal judge overseeing the Terpin v. AT&T case dismissed the motion. At the time, this was the latest development in a legal battle pertaining to cryptocurrencies stolen via SIM-swapping that has been going on for almost a year.





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