American telecom giant At&T has been accused of failing to adequately protect the customer accounts of its wireless customers. This has led to cryptocurrency being stolen from the plaintiff’s crypto exchange account, according to the complaint. AT&T is being sued after one of its customers was allegedly scammed out of cryptocurrency in a SIM swap attack. An account associated with the phone number of Jamarquis Etheridge, a Texas resident, has been compromised, resulting in the loss of cryptocurrency tokens worth $560,000 (roughly Rs. 4 crores). As per reports, Etheridge fell prey to a SIM Swap attack in which scammers dig out the numbers of potential victims and get them changed by network operators.
After losing his Ether (ETH) tokens, Etheridge decided to take legal action against AT&T, questioning its user security provisions and demanding compensation. AT&T was aware of the threat posed by SIM swapping attacks, according to the complainant. According to the police report filed on 15 September, Etheridge claimed that the network operator had posted warnings about such attacks but did not do anything to tighten security.
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On September 10, hackers gained unauthorized access to Etheridge’s wireless account. By the time AT&T processed the attack, the hacker(s) stole ETH 159.8 tokens from the number-linked account. The notorious actor(s) may have found Etheridge’s phone number and convinced AT&T to activate a new SIM card, as is common in such attacks. Later, the hacker(s) must have extracted the linked financial information with the new number.
Etheridge has demanded that AT&T must compensate him for the theft. In December 2020, hardware wallet player Ledger servers witnessed a spike in SIM swap threats. Personal financial data of several users were leaked around that time and the victims remain uncompensated. AT&T itself has frequently been a victim of SIM swapping attacks. Between 2018 and 2019, three AT&T users collectively lost over $26 million after their crypto assets were stolen in similar SIM swapping attacks.
In addition to seeking “compensatory and equitable relief restoring him” to 159.8 ETH, he also seeks relief for statutory damages, treble damages, punitive damages, the award for attorney fees and reimbursement of all costs, “pre-and post-judgment interest on any amounts awarded,” and any other relief the court deems just and proper.