Maryland Man Sues Verizon, Coinbase After $452K Crypto Theft Via SIM Swap

News | May 29, 2024 By:

On Wednesday, May 15, 2024, Bryan Volz filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland alleging negligence, privacy violations, and other claims against telecommunications company Verizon and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.

According to the complaint, Volz is a resident of Maryland who opened an account on Coinbase in September 2020 to trade cryptocurrency such as Ethereum. On December 30, 2021, unknown individuals were allegedly able to orchestrate an unauthorized SIM swap on Volz’s Verizon wireless account. During a SIM swap, a phone number is switched to a different SIM card without the owner’s consent. This allowed the perpetrators to gain control of Volz’s Verizon account and phone number.

As the complaint describes, only Verizon has the ability to effectuate a SIM card change by authenticating the request and transferring a customer’s phone number to a new SIM. Volz asserts that a Verizon employee at a store in Indianapolis processed the unauthorized SIM swap, which locked him out of his account.

By the time Volz was able to regain control of his Verizon account thirty minutes later, the perpetrators had used their short-term access to reset passwords on his Coinbase accounts. It is alleged they withdrew approximately 120 Ethereum, worth around $452,000 at the time, from Volz’s Coinbase cryptocurrency holdings.

The complaint accuses Verizon of negligence and privacy violations under Maryland law for failing to adequately secure Volz’s customer proprietary network information, commonly known as CPNI, which includes details like call records and locations. Federal law requires telecom companies to protect this data.

Volz also alleges that Coinbase was negligent for ignoring his warnings about securing his accounts despite publicly promoting the exchange’s security features. He is seeking damages from both companies to compensate for his financial losses and harm to his health.

Please contact BlockTribune for access to a copy of this filing.