• Following a Sim-Swap Crypto Fraud, a British hacker faces extradition to the United States

  • A 24-year-old British man faces extradition to the United States in connection with a sim-swap scheme that targeted a Boston bitcoin broker in mid-2021.

    Robert Barr, 24, is facing extradition to the United States in connection with a crypto fraud that occurred between May and July of 2017. According to US prosecutors, Barr and Londoner Corey De Rose robbed Reggie Middleton, a Boston broker, before moving the funds to another cryptocurrency wallet.

    What is a “sim swap” scam?

    A “sim-swap” scam occurs when a scammer moves a person’s phone number to another device without their knowledge. This allows the scammer to start receiving communications from that phone number, including access to email accounts, passwords, and, of course, crypto wallets.

    Barr and American Anthony Frances Faulks hacked a female’s phone in May 2017, allowing them to steal just under half a million pounds and reroute the funds to other crypto wallets. Following grand jury investigations in 2020, US officials said Barr faces eight accusations in Georgia, including wire fraud and identity theft.

    So far, Barr’s case

    Barr was apprehended by Scottish police in February 2021, after the FBI alerted them to his actions. Barr was remanded in custody following his appearance in court before to the start of extradition proceedings in April.

    In October 2021, he was released on bond to his mother in Kilbirnie.

    However, Barr’s motion to dismiss the continuing prosecution and arrest warrant was denied last week. He is scheduled to appear in court for an extradition hearing later this year.

    De Rose, who has Asperger’s syndrome, won his extradition case in January of this year. He was also accused of hacking into a cryptocurrency account in 2017.

    Barr went “too far,” according to a former hacker.

    An old acquaintance who was part of a group of adolescent hackers that included Barr alleged that Barr would sometimes go too far.

    “We were young, approximately 15-16ish, and it was great for me…

    You could take the accounts, which were frequently idle and underused, and sell them to other people who wanted that username. I don’t think Robert truly realized the gravity of his conduct and mistook it for something that happened on his computer.”

    Barr’s mother and stepfather claimed ignorance and refused to speak to the press.

    Last year, AT&T was sued after a customer lost $560,000 in cryptocurrency due to sim-swap fraud, and another individual lost $7,300 from his Coinbase account after a sim-swap attack on his T-Mobile account.

    Cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase do not repay monies lost due to SIM-swap fraud because funds are stolen owing to a stolen identity rather than a security failure on their end.

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