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British police today announced that they have arrested eight people as part of the investigation for theft of a phone by replacing SIM cards with American celebrities.
Mobile phone with SIM card, Photo: Shutterstock
The British National Crime Agency (NCA) announced that sports stars, musicians and their families are targeted in a fraud in which criminals gain access to the phones or accounts of their victims, according to Reuters.
This allowed them to steal money, bitcoins and personal data, as well as hack into the social media accounts of their victims to post content and messages, says the NCA.
The investigation, which included the United States Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), revealed a network operating in Britain. British police said eight suspects, aged between 18 and 26, were arrested in England and Scotland.
“This network targeted large numbers of victims in the United States and regularly targeted those they thought would be lucrative targets, such as famous musicians and sports stars,” said the NCA’s cybercrime unit.
Replacing a SIM means that cyber scammers take control of the victim’s phone number basically by deactivating their SIM and transferring the assigned number to a SIM that belongs to one of the criminal gangs.
The criminals then reset the passwords for the apps, giving them access to their victims’ contacts, bank details, emails, and social media accounts.