SIM card swapping fraud is also known as SIM card swapping or SIM hijacking. This is a type of cyber crime, in which fraudsters gain unauthorized access to another person’s mobile number by changing its SIM card. When this fraud takes place, they get access to his bank account and other online accounts through the mobile number of the victim of fraud and cheat him.
This is how it happens
Fraudster collects personal information
The fraudster collects personal information about the targeted person from different sources, such as social media or public records, to use in the process of fraud. In this, they can find information like full name, address, date of birth, or other identifying details. With the personal information of the targeted person, the fraudster contacts the victim’s mobile operator and impersonates him or gives enough details to convince the company’s customer care that he is a valid account holder. In this, fraudsters, on behalf of the person who is a valid customer, claim that his current SIM card is damaged or lost and request for SIM card swapping.
A new sim card is activated with the mobile number.
If the mobile operator is convinced of the fraudster’s fraud, they activate a new SIM card (SIM card swapping fraud) with the mobile number of that person. Which effectively shifts the phone number to the new SIM card under the control of the fraudster. With control of that person’s phone number, the fraudster can now obtain all calls, SMS messages and certification codes sent to that number. This allows them to bypass Two Factor Authentication (2FA) measures used by various online accounts such as email, social media, banking and other sensitive services.
Risk of financial and personal consequences
Now with access to that victim’s mobile number and 2FA code, the fraudster can potentially access and compromise various online accounts linked to the victim. They can make unauthorized transactions, commit identity theft, or other financial crimes, which can lead to serious financial and personal consequences for the victim.
Ways to avoid SIM card swapping fraud
Use strong and unique passwords for all online accounts in today’s era of increasing cybercrime and this sim swapping fraud. Whenever possible, enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) using authenticator apps or physical security keys instead of relying solely on SMS-based 2FA. Be careful while sharing personal information online and on social media platforms. Monitor your financial and online accounts regularly for any suspicious activity. If you suspect any irregularity or service related to SIM card (SIM swap scam), contact your mobile operator immediately. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for added protection from online threats.