SIM Swap Fraud
SIM swap fraud (also known as Port-Out scam or SIM splitting) is a type of account takeover fraud that generally targets a weakness in two-factor authentication & two-step verification, where the second factor or step is an SMS or a call placed to a mobile telephone.
SIM swap fraud is a relatively new, sophisticated form of cyber fraud that allows hackers to gain access to bank accounts, credit card numbers, and other personal data. The SIM swap cases were reported in the US and Europe in 2013 and now it’s in trend in India. People have lost more than Rs 200 crores in these SIM swap scams.
How SIM Swap works?
Fraudsters obtain banking account details and your registered mobile number through phishing or through Trojans/Malware
Under the pretext of losing the mobile handset, new handset or damaged SIM card, fraudster approaches mobile service provider by creating a fake identity of genuine customer
Post customer verification, mobile service provider will deactivate old SIM card which is in customer’s possession and issue a new SIM card to the fraudster. There will be no network on customer’s handset. Now, customer will not receive any SMS, information such as alerts, OTP, URN etc. on the phone
With the banking details stolen through phishing or Trojan/Malware fraudster will access and operate your account and initiate financial transactions which you will not be aware of and all the SMS for alerts, payment confirmation etc. will go to the fraudster
Things you should know
- There are two parts to this fraud. To deal with the first step is to follow the basic online security hygiene against phishing.
- Remember, phishing is a kind of e-mail fraud technique in which the fraudster sends out genuine-looking emails or website links in an attempt to gather your personal and financial information.
- As far as step two goes, don’t give away your details to anyone whatsoever. If you see no service on your SIM, contact the service provider at the earliest. If your SIM has been deactivating at midnight, you can’t do much about it really.
- Like it or not, there’s nothing much you can do from your side, apart from being more vigilant.
How to protect yourself from such Frauds?
- If your phone is out of network continuously for a few hours specifically on weekends, then you have to take it seriously and be alert and complain the same to a mobile operator.
- Never switch off your mobile for long periods to avoid unwanted calls. Instead, try not to pick them. Otherwise, activate DND (Do Not Disturb) facility for your SIM.
- Regularly check your bank account statement.
- Register for both email as well as SMS alerts.
- Do not share your 20 digits SIM number mentioned on the back of your SIM with anyone
- Do not display your mobile number on social media websites.
- In these times, any online authentication or new guidelines while issuing duplicate SIM card has become need of the hour to stop SIM Card SWAP frauds.
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