Toronto (January 21, 2020) – 19-year-old Samy Bensaci from Montreal was arrested in Victoria, B.C. in November 2019 for allegedly being involved in a group of cybercriminals who stole millions in cryptocurrency using SIM swap scams. Investigators believe that they gained unauthorized access to the cell phones of their victims early in 2018. They reportedly stole $50 million in the U.S and another $300,000 in Canada from cryptocurrency holders. Bensaci has been charged with fraudulently obtain computer service, fraud over $5,000, mischief/deny access to computer data and personate with intent in connection with four incidents in the GTA.
The 19-year-old, Samy Bensaci from Montreal is accused of being part of a criminal hacker group who stole millions in cryptocurrency using SIM swap scams. The Sûreté du Québec cooperated with the Toronto police in the investigation regarding the SIM swap cyber fraud that affected dozens of victims in the U.S. and Canada, according to La Presse.
SIM swap cyber fraud
The police believe that early in 2018, hackers such as Bensaci perpetrated a series of cyber frauds in which they stole millions in cryptocurrency. To do so, they gained unauthorized access to the cell phones of cryptocurrency holders in the U.S. and Canada. Conducting these SIM swap scams, they stole $50 million in the U.S. and another $300,000 in Canada, according to Quebec police official, Hugo Fournier.
They also targeted cybersecurity experts Don Tapscott and his son Alex who are located in the GTA. The co-authors of ‘Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World.’ and head of the Blockchain Research Institute were targeted by the hacker group. They attempted to steal wallets of cryptocurrencies from the company and its employees. However, the attack was successfully warded off by the cybersecurity experts.
Read more: Police warn of SIM-swapping scam after three incidents in Edmonton
Bensaci faces four criminal charges
On November 21, 2019, the Toronto police cybercrime team executed a search warrant at his parent’s home in Montreal. They seized several phones, SIM cards, and computer equipment. At the time of the search warrant, Bensaci was in Victoria, B.C., where he later was arrested.
The Montreal teen has been charged with fraudulently obtain computer service; fraud over $5,000; mischief/deny access to computer data and personate with intent in connection with the SIM swap cyber frauds in the GTA.
Bensaci was released on bail in December with several restrictions. He was ordered to live with his parents until his next court hearing and barred from using any device that can access the internet. Furthermore, he is prohibited from indulging in trade or purchase of crypto assets, and even owning any kind of digital assets. He is scheduled to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice on January 31.