Massive multistate crime ring busted when Canton mother overhears son pretending to be AT&T worker

Police say Canton man, 8 others stole hundreds of thousands of dollars

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CANTON, Mich. – A massive multistate crime ring was busted, thanks to a Canton mother who caught something her son was doing.

Most people can't stand to be without their cellphones, but a new scam is proving just how vulnerable cellphones can make people, especially if personal information is being stored.

According to police records, the scam centers around a SIM card inside cellphones that hold a lot of data.

The scam was uncovered when a Canton woman overheard her son pretending to be an AT&T worker. She called police and, among other things, found stolen SIM cards that were later linked to seven victims in seven states: California, Utah, Texas, Michigan, New York, Vermont and North Carolina.

The Canton man was allegedly working with eight other people as part of a much larger ring. They would impersonate cellphone company employees to get personal information and then hack into the personal information allowing them to order new SIM cards, or hack the SIM cards themselves, which gave them access to cellphones and personal information.

They were able to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars, police said.

It's difficult to protect yourself from this high-tech scam. The best advice is not to keep personal information on your phone, especially Social Security numbers or passwords.

Also, keep an eye on your bill. It should note if a new SIM card was ordered.

Police said a cellphone company will never call you to ask you to verify personal information.

About the Authors:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.