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SIM card. Photo: Paul Zinken/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Department of Justice filed charges against a Verizon employee and 2 employees of stores selling AT&T service for using their access to hijack customer accounts.

Why it matters: Especially in the AT&T case where the accused were employees of a contractor and not AT&T itself, the cases raise questions about companies' ability to control employee behavior when the workers are able to steal data or funds from a customer.

Background: The scam, known as SIM-swapping, involves hackers breaking into victim's cellphone accounts to reset passwords on other accounts.

  • From there, the hijackers can reset passwords on email, bank and other accounts that allow a phone number to serve as a form of identification.

Details: The 3 employees charged join 6 people who were indicted last week, all connected to a SIM-swapping ring.

  • Those charges came a day before bitcoin investor Michael Terpin won $75 million in a lawsuit against a SIM-swapping criminal who stole millions from his cryptocurrency wallets.
  • Axios Codebook profiled Terpin in September as he launched lawsuits against AT&T for allowing employees and contractors to transfer accounts without following security procedures advertised to customers.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

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