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Security

Alleged SIM swapper reportedly stole enough cryptocurrency to buy a McLaren

The 19-year-old suspect is in custody facing multiple charges, according to Krebs on Security.

SIM cards are small slivers of plastic with an embedded chip involved in smartphone authentication, identification and encryption of voice and data transmissions.

SIM cards are small slivers of plastic with an embedded chip used in smartphones for authentication, identification and encryption of voice and data transmissions. 

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Police have reportedly arrested a 19-year-old alleged SIM swapper in Santa Clara, California.

SIM swappers steal mobile phone numbers and use them to access digital financial and social media information from the victims.

Xzavyer Clemente Narvaez was arrested last week for allegedly hijacking large sums of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies this way, according to Krebs on Security. He allegedly bought luxury items with the cryptocurrencies he stole, including a $200,000 McLaren, according to the Krebs. One of the several alleged victims reportedly lost $150,000 in cryptocurrency.  

Once a SIM card is swapped, the victim's phone will reportedly lose service and all the incoming texts and calls will go to the hacker's device. A lot of web services use phone numbers to verify identity, which enables the hacker to access the victim's online accounts.

Narvaez currently faces multiple counts of property theft, identity theft, damaging computer data and more, according to Krebs. He is reportedly expected to issue a plea on Sept. 26.

The Superior Court of California in Santa Clara county didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.