SIM Swapping: The Hobby That Could Cost You Your Freedom (and $200k) – eCrimeBytes Nibble #12

This case has very little news written about it, but it was interesting enough that it was worth making into an eCrimeBytes Nibble.

Let’s dive into the fascinating world of SIM Swapping! Being a SIM Swapper isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, it’s more like being a punching bag for rival gangs. Just ask “Foreshadow”, the unlucky SIM Swapper who got kidnapped and held for ransom by a rival gang. Talk about a bad day! You know what they say – live by the SIM card, die by the SIM card.

Foreshadow’s job as a “holder” is like being a low-level intern in a criminal organization. You get all the grunt work and none of the glory.

The teen, known to the SIM-swapping community by the handle “Foreshadow,” appears to have served as a “holder” — a term used to describe a low-level member of any SIM-swapping group who agrees to carry out the riskiest and least rewarding role of the crime: Physically keeping and managing the various mobile devices and SIM cards that are used in SIM-swapping scams.

Well, Foreshadow was also kidnapped by a rival cybercriminal gang and held for $200k ransom. But Foreshadow’s not just a holder, he’s also a hero. He bravely offered to work for free for the people who kidnapped him. Now that’s dedication!

Below you will see a frame from a video the kidnappers sent for Foreshadow’s $200k ransom, which includes his mouth bloody and two handguns pointed at his head.

Photo Credit: KrebsOnSercurity

Foreshadow, the poster boy for Stockholm Syndrome, then offered to work for the kidnappers for free. Talk about dedication! He even offered to be a “plug” – whatever that means. We hope it’s not what we’re thinking. Kidding, see our previous episodes where we discuss plugs inside mobile phone companies.

Krebs reported that Foreshadow said the following in the video:

“They’re going to kill me if you don’t,” Foreshadow continued, offering to get a job as a complicit mobile store employee or “plug” to help with future SIM-swaps. “I’ll pay you back. Just let me know what you need. I got you, for real. Any work for free. Whatever. However long you need me, too. I’ll apply to any store you need me to apply to. I can be a plug. I don’t care if I get caught by the cops or anything. I’ll get that money back for you. I used to do that work.”

It was reported that Foreshadow has been helping the FBI since this incident. It was also reported that he was shot. Neither of these statements can be confirmed.

If you found this case interesting, we have a number of in depth eCrimeBytes episodes on SIM swapping, such as:

eCrimeBytes S 1, Ep 1: The Community

eCrimeBytes S 1, Ep 2: Swatting Gets Deadly

eCrimeBytes S 1, Ep 4: The Twitter Hack

eCrimeBytes S 1, Ep 5: PlugwalkJoe

eCrimeBytes S 1, Ep 7: Swatting Payback In Maryland

… and don’t forget about Violence As A Service with PatTheBat!

Videos Are Up For eCrimeBytes S 1, Ep 3: Violence As a Service With “PatTheBat”

Further Reading:

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