Everything You Need To Know About SIM Swap Fraud
Everything You Need To Know About SIM Swap Fraud By Shrutika Vaishnavi | June 27, 2018
Here’s all you need to know to protect yourself from SIM swap fraud. Read on.
With everything moving so fast, we don’t have much time to waste. No matter whether it’s paying our electricity bill or opening a bank account, all we keep looking for is convenience. Keeping that in mind, a lot of these crucial, security-sensitive tasks have gone mobile too. In a matter of few clicks, we can easily get the most complicated issues sorted. Since these include a lot of banking transactions, it becomes crucial to look at the security aspect.
Additional Reading: Hit And Run By Credit Card Fraud? Here’s What To Do
With the advancements in technology, many otherwise complicated things have started to look super easy. While continuously evolving technology is helping simplify things for us, it is also making it simpler for hackers to hack our accounts and steal crucial information. This has led to a rise in the number of fraud cases. One of the latest types of fraud is —the SIM swap. Let’s tell you everything about it.
What Is SIM Swap Fraud?
As we know, a SIM card helps a mobile phone stay connected to a mobile network. It stores some crucial user data that are used for authentication of cell phone subscriptions. When attackers attempts a SIM swap, they actually try to gain access to the target’s phone communications. They then use the cellular company’s representative to get a SIM card issued for an account the attacker doesn’t own or have access to.
In this process, attackers try their best to obtain as much personal information about the target as possible. They might even go to the level of impersonating the target’s Credit Cards and phishing emails. The scariest part about this whole thing is that only very few people can figure out the difference between real and phishing emails. Thanks to the upgraded technology, the attackers can even collect sufficient data about the target via social media platforms, public websites and data dumps.
How Does It Work? Firstly, the attacker obtains your banking account details and registered mobile number through phishing or through Trojans/Malware. Then, they apply for a duplicate SIM under your name, under the pretext of losing the mobile handset, faking your identity. Once the verification is done, the mobile service provider deactivates the old SIM card (the one you have) and issues a new SIM card (the one the attacker gets). Soon, you’ll no longer have any network on your phone. As a result, you won’t be able to receive any SMS, or an alert— OTP , URN etc. So, you won’t even realise that you’re in deep trouble. Since the attacker already has all your banking details stolen through phishing or Trojan/Malware, it’s easy for them to access and operate your account and initiate financial transactions. The worst part is that you won’t even be aware of all this happening as all new OTPs, etc. will go to the attacker, not you.
What Are The Signs Of A SIM Swap Fraud?
Like we mentioned before, detecting a SIM swap fraud is quite difficult and almost next to impossible. Thankfully, some banks have been successful in installing a protective layer to protect their customers from this menace.
Some of these measures include sending multiple alerts to the user in case of detection of an objectionable activity, additional checks for SIM reissuing and usage of IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity). If the IMSI number doesn’t match your SIM card number, you might be in trouble.
To further to strengthen the defence mechanism, banks are also looking at using new technology to understand the customer behaviour. This will help them detect any unusual behaviour and detect a fraud.
Additional Reading: Epic Credit Card Frauds And How to Avoid Them
How Can You Prevent SIM Swap Fraud?
Since it’s quite a complicated and difficult issue to detect, here are some safety tips to help you through it: Always stay aware of your cell phone’s network connectivity status. In case you don’t receive any calls or SMS notifications for a long time, you need to run a check. It might be a network issue, but it could also mean you’re a victim of SIM swap fraud. Contact your mobile operator to ensure that you’re safe. Some network operators have the provision to send SMS alerts in case of a SIM swap. In such cases, it becomes easier for you to act immediately and stop this fraud. All you have to do is contact your mobile operator as soon as you can. Never switch off your mobile if you’re receiving numerous annoying calls. That doesn’t mean you have to answer those calls. This whole thing could be a ploy to get you to turn off your phone or put it on silent so that you don’t realise that your connectivity has been tampered with. It’s always a good idea to register for SMS and email alerts that can help you review various activities on your bank account. Remember to keep a close eye on your bank statements and online banking transaction history to help identify any issues or irregularities that scream something is off.