Law Street Media

T-Mobile Sued over Alleged SIM Swapping Scheme

T-Mobile store front

Edison New Jersey - April 1 2017. T Mobile store front inside a mall in New Jersey. T Mobile is the third largest mobile carrier in the US based on number of subscribers.

A consumer, Richard Harris, filed a complaint on Tuesday in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania  against T-Mobile USA, Inc. for allegedly giving his account to an unknown third party, resulting in a loss of his cryptocurrency. 

The plaintiff was a victim of a SIM swap, an illegal scheme where criminals “gain access to or ‘hijack’ customer wireless accounts, which often include sensitive personal and financial information, to induce third parties to conduct transactions with individuals they believe to be legitimate or known to them.” This form of account takeover fraud is sometimes, and allegedly so in this case, perpetrated by employees of wireless carriers like T-Mobile. The plaintiff held approximately $55,000 worth of Bitcoin on his Coinbase mobile app, which was allegedly stolen from his account on July 5, 2020 when “unknown individual(s) visited a T-Mobile store in or around Miami, Florida, where T-Mobile agents allowed and provided that individual(s) unauthorized access to Plaintiff’s account and SIM data.” When Harris woke up the next morning, he found his Coinbase account emptied and had to call T-Mobile to fix his account and passwords.

According to the complaint, the SIM Swap was “if not entirely perpetrated by, then at the very least effectuated and facilitated by T-Mobile and its employees.” Furthermore, “the unknown party was able to bypass the two-factor authentication security measures that Plaintiff had put in place […] thereby compromising Plaintiff’s personal, business and financial accounts.” The plaintiff is suing on the counts of violations of the FCA; negligence; negligent hiring, retention and supervision; gross negligence; violation of the Stored Communications Act; violation of the Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act; violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law; and a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. 

The plaintiff is seeking actual, statutory, treble, and punitive damages, replacement of his property, prejudgment interest, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.

The plaintiff is represented by the Law Offices of Kent Petry.

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