8:01 pm - Wednesday December 7, 2016

Secret Service Hits $250 Million Cell Phone Cloning Ring

Cellphone security is an ever increasing topic of discussion, the more people use cellphones to conduct online banking, trading stocks, call family, and keep their online life organized, the more the criminals are going to want access to the phones. The video above is a scam known as the “Bluetooth Jacking” scam, where the criminal takes your cellphone’s ID via a bluetooth device, and they force your phone to call a high premium phone line where you get charged by the minute. The criminal may get away with $20 – $50 before you realize what happened.

The crime is not just for low level criminals, an even more sophisticated type of scam actually clones your entire phone and allows the criminals to make calls to International numbers and could possibly take your identity. The Secret Service just busted a ring of people pulling off this kind of crime.

On February 1, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced charges against 12 defendants for participating in a $250 million cell phone cloning scheme.

U.S. Secret Service’s New York Field Office recently investigated a sophisticated operation in which information from the cell phone accounts of tens of thousands of people is stolen to support a black market in international calling.

“These charges show our commitment to protecting the privacy of consumers and safeguarding the integrity of international telecommunications networks,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

The Secret Service is recognized worldwide for its investigative expertise and for its aggressive and innovative approach to the detection, investigation and prevention of financial crimes.

While payment methods have changed over the years – from coin and paper currency, to checks, credit cards, and now, online transactions – the Secret Service remains committed to safeguarding the payment and financial systems of the United States.

“Through the use of strong investigative techniques and practices, the Secret Service and its law enforcement partners in multiple jurisdictions successfully thwarted further criminal activity and brought these perpetrators to justice,” said Brian Parr, Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service’s New York Field Office.

Each of the 12 defendants is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum penalty of two years in prison. Via: DHS Blog