Multiple arrests have been made in a SIM-swap investigation in which suspects fraudulently gained access to victims’ cell phone accounts and stole their identities, Kearny Police Department Chief George King said March 13. (The Kearny PD’s Detective Bureau worked closely with the Jersey City Police Department and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations to make the arrests.)
Domonye Kelly, 23, and unemployed, was arrested in Jersey City March 10 and charged with theft and identity theft. Kelly was remanded to the Hudson County Jail, South Kearny, pending his first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court, Jersey City.
Denzel C. Long, 26, also unemployed, was arrested in Jersey City the same day and charged with second-degree trafficking in personal-identifying information. Long was issued a summons and released on his own recognizance.
Nicole Ramirez, 20, a student, was charged by warrant with theft and conspiracy. She has not yet been apprehended.
During the investigation, authorities said they conducted a search that recovered evidence of 100+ stolen identities from around the country, altered checks, evidence of mail theft, a cache of prepaid phones and criminal proceeds including cash and other valuables totaling over $290,000.
King thanked the Jersey City Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the NJ Real Time Crime Center in Newark and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and Regional SWAT Team for their collaboration and hard work in this investigation.
“Their expertise and dedication were instrumental in bringing these suspects to justice,” the chief said.
The Kearny PD said it is committed to holding accountable those who commit these types of crimes. Anyone with information related to this case is urged to call Det. John Fabula at (201) 998-1313, ext. 2833, or to send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The PD also urges anyone who suspects they may be a victim of SIM swapping or identity theft to contact them or their local law-enforcement agency and to take immediate steps to secure accounts.
“SIM swapping is a form of identity theft in which criminals convince cell phone providers to switch a victim’s phone number to a new SIM card in their possession, giving them access to the victim’s accounts, such as email, banking and social media,” Fabula said. “The suspects in this case used this method to steal sensitive information from multiple victims. The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges are expected.”
To protect yourself from SIM swaps and identity theft, the Kearny PD and Fabula offer the following tips:
- Add a PIN or password to your cell phone account that’s separate from other passwords.
- Be wary of unsolicited calls or messages from unknown numbers, especially if they ask for personal information or payment.
- Regularly monitor your accounts for any unusual activity, such as unrecognized logins or transactions.
- Use two-factor authentication whenever possible to add an extra layer of security to your accounts. Select an authenticator application instead of text message whenever possible.
- Keep your phone’s software up to date to ensure any security vulnerabilities are patched.
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.