On Wednesday, a Texas resident filed suit against mobile carrier AT&T for violations of state law. The complaint accuses AT&T Inc. of failing to safeguard the plaintiff’s information in connection with a SIM swap that it permitted to occur, allegedly exposing the plaintiff to cryptocurrency theft and indeed causing hackers to empty his exchange account.
The Southern District of Texas filing explains that the man has been an AT&T account holder since 2009. In September 2020, the plaintiff’s subscriber identity module, commonly known as a “SIM card,” which stores user data in phones on the radio network used by AT&T to provide cellular telephone service to its subscribers, was reassigned. Thereafter, the plaintiff lost control of his phone and with it handed the attackers the power to steal property and his identity in a “SIM swapping” or “SIM hijacking.”
The details of the loss are unknown to the plaintiff, other than the alleged fact that AT&T was unable to contain the security breach until the next day, enabling wrongdoers to steal more than 159.8 ETHEREUM Tokens. “As a result of this breach of security, Plaintiff Etheridge’s exchange account was subjected to unauthorized transfers; he was deprived of his use of his cell phone number and required to expend time, energy, and expense to address and resolve this financial disruption and mitigate the consequences; and he also suffered consequent emotion[al] distress,” the filing says.
The plaintiff asserts that AT&T is well aware of the rising prevalence and dangers posed by SIM swapping attacks. Further, he contends that AT&T pledges to protect users from such attacks by safeguarding their information. However, his losses show that the protections were inadequate in violation of the company’s own policy and the Federal Communications Act, the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and other common law duties.
For redress, the man seeks a variety of damages and his attorneys’ fees and costs. The lawsuit also states that it reserves the right to convert into a class action on behalf of similarly aggrieved Texans and out-of-state residents. The plaintiff is represented by Richard E. Brown Attorney at Law PC.