Garrett Endicott, the sixth member of a hacking group called “The Community” has been sentenced to 10-month imprisonment as well as asked to pay a hefty fine of $120,000 (roughly Rs. 90 lakh) for a 2019 SIM hijacking case. Accessing the cryptocurrency accounts and emails of the victims via hacked SIMs, this group stole up to $9 million (roughly Rs. 67 crore). Garrett, the final member of the group to be caught, was served the sentence by US’ Department of Justice on Tuesday, December 2.
As per a report by The Hill, each victim of this scam lost between $2,000 (roughly Rs. 1.5 lakh) and $5 million (roughly Rs. 3.7 crore). Many of the victims ended up losing their retirement funds.
“The illegal activities of ‘The Community’ were thwarted as the result of a complex international cryptocurrency and identity theft investigation. As criminal organisations commonly use web-based schemes to further their illicit activities, this demonstrates how vulnerable our personal information can be,” Special Agent in Charge, James Harris was quoted as saying.
Other members of The Community have also been sentenced between 42 months to three years in prison, along with fines going as high as $9.5 million (roughly Rs. 71 crore).
The crypto market is currently witnessing a global boom with the overall market cap recently touching the $3 trillion mark (roughly Rs. 2,22,79,296 crore) mark, as per market research tracker CoinGecko.
Cybercriminals have also been targeting crypto holders, investors, as well as exchanges to steal more assets. Recently, a cyber research team from Sophos unearthed a Bitcoin wallet filled with tokens worth $1.4 million (roughly Rs. 10 crore) that were collected through scams. Scammers were finding victims via dating apps like Bumble and Tinder.
In October, a major hack attack cost Ethereum-powered lending protocol called “Cream Finance” $130 million (roughly Rs. 972 crore) worth of crypto assets.
A recent report has revealed that the total crypto crime in 2020 amounted to around $10.52 billion (roughly Rs. 79,194 crores).
The same report also highlighted that scams and frauds are a major problem that made for 67.8 percent of the total cryptocurrency crime in 2020.
Earlier in November, US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said that cyber scammers are making innocent people use physical cryptocurrency ATMs and digital QR Codes to complete malicious transactions and dupe them off assets.