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Man makes $25 million illegally unlocking T-Mobile phones

The former T-Mobile store owner could spend decades in prison.

t-mobile logo on glass wall

A California man who grew a multi-million-dollar business by hacking into T-Mobile systems and illegally unlocking cell phones locked to the network has been found guilty. This is coming nearly three years after he was busted.

If you have ever visited websites such as unlocks247.com, swiftunlocked.com, or unlockitall.com, there’s a good chance that you may have dealt with Argishti Khudaverdyan, the brain behind the T-Mobile hack.

This is according to statements made in court documents presented by the central district of California.

Argishti Khudaverdyan, the man behind the T-Mobile hack

iphone screen
Image: Unsplash

Aged 44, the California native originally owned and operated a legitimate T-Mobile store in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles.

This gave him some insider knowledge about T-Mobile’s inner workings. However, between 2014 and 2019, he went rogue and masterminded the illegal unlocking of hundreds of thousands of locked phones.

Mobile carriers like T-Mobile often heavily discount phones, including iPhones. This lowers the barrier of entry, enabling more people to afford new phones. But there’s a catch – the phones are locked to specific carriers.

However, some users buy these locked phones and then illegally unlock them before their contract expires, causing the operators to lose money in the process.

This was where Khudaverdyan came in, helping people to unlock their T-Mobile phones for a fee.

How the T-Mobile hack was masterminded

samsung galaxy s22 ultra
Image: KnowTechie

To achieve this, Khudaverdyan needed T-Mobile access which he falsely obtained by designing and deploying phishing emails to unsuspecting T-Mobile employees.

He also socially engineered T-Mobile’s IT Help Desk. About 50 staff were affected in the elaborate scheme, which raked in over $25 million.

Investigators also discovered that Khudaverdyan used his services to unblock phones that had been reported lost or stolen.

According to the Justice Department, Khudaverdyan also led his customers to believe that he was an authorized T-Mobile service provider.

Sentence hearing fixed

Reports also show that T-Mobile terminated its contract with Khudaverdyan in 2017 after he and an associate used their official T-Mobile logins to access the company’s IT systems.

But this did not deter him as he continued to run his illegal phone unlocking and unblocking business.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for October 17, 2022. According to PCMag, Khudaverdyan now faces decades in prison for various offenses, which include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and computer hacking. 

In December 2021, T-Mobile suffered a data breach. Months prior, in August, the popular mobile carrier also suffered a major data breach that affected millions of users.

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Joy Okumoko is a freelance technology writer who loves all things tech. She spends her spare time crocheting and working on her crafts.

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