Have you heard about SIM swap fraud? If not, then here’s an important article for you. The best way you can protect yourself from modern fraudulent techniques is to know about them. You are lucky if you’ve not experienced such cheats so far. SIM swap scam is a relatively sophisticated form of deception that permits hackers to acquire access to your credit card numbers, bank accounts, and other confidential information.
The trend is growing across the globe among scammers and hackers. According to research done by US FTC (Fair Trade Commission), the number of SIM Swap theft cases was 1,038 in January 2013. The number of such identity theft cases reached 2,658 by the end of January 2016. You can prevent scammers from draining your personal information or bank account by taking necessary precautionary measures.
What is SIM Swap Fraud?
A normal SIM card stores your data in GSM mobile phones. They are basically used to validate cellphone subscriptions. GSM mobiles cannot tap into mobile networks without having a SIM card. SIM swap fraud can be referred to as a kind of identity theft that exploits the biggest vulnerability of the SIM system.
Unlike other fraud activities, SIM fraudsters aim to attack profitable victims only that have been particularly targeted via social engineering. It is a method through which attackers try to get access to the victim’s mobile phone communications. According to Emma Mohan-Satta, who is a professional fraud prevention consultant, the growing reliability of mobile-based verification has given rise to SIM swapping.
Indication of SIM Swap Scam
It’s hard to detect a SIM card scam before it actually takes place. Majority of victims come to know about this when they try to make a call or send a text. You will not be able to place a call or send messages once criminals deactivate your SIM card. So, if your SIM card is not operative due to some unknown reason, chances are you have fallen prey to those perpetrators. Luckily, some mobile network carriers and banks have already taken initiatives to protect their customers from SIM swap frauds.
How to Protect Yourself from SIM Swap Fraud
All major mobile network carriers operating in the United States and European countries provide safety against SIM swapping. It is very important to visit your mobile carrier’s website and understand all the safety guidelines provided there. Let’s check out how mobile carriers can help you in getting rid of these frauds.
T-Mobile allows its users to create a special ‘Care Password’, that will be required when subscribers will contact the carrier’s customer service staff through the phone. You can create this password by calling their customer care representative or by visiting nearby T-Mobile store.
Team AT&T has taken a step forward to improve the safety of its subscribers. They have introduced an ‘Extra Security’ feature that needs you to tell a passcode for any mobile or online interactions with their customer care representatives. You can activate this feature through myAT&T application or by logging into your dashboard on AT&T website.
Verizon allows its users to create an account PIN for security purposes. You can create one by calling customer support service, editing your profile online, or simply visiting nearby Verizon store.
Sprint suggests its subscribers create a PIN or security questions while subscribing to their service. You will need to provide that PIN or answers to specific security questions whenever contact Sprint customer care service.
Vodafone has stepped forward to save its customers from SIM swapping. They use the network security layer for protection purposes. Users can create a pin to save their SIMs from unauthorized use. If someone enters the wrong pin three times, your SIM will be blocked automatically.
Turn on the Telstra mobile protect service to discourage all fraudulent activities on your SIM card. You can log in to your account on their website and switch on this protection feature.
These security measures taken by major mobile network
providers have ensured safety against the SIM card swap scam.
Furthermore, you can use common sense rules to avoid such fraudulent activities:
disclosing your confidential information or other sensitive data online.
up alerts with your bank account or mobile company to know about mischievous
attempts to gain your account information.
not use SMS as your basic communication method because the information shared
through SMS is not encrypted.
using encrypted messaging apps to avoid vulnerability. You can try using Google
Authenticator or other reliable mobile applications such as WhatsApp, iMessage,
two-factor authentication where possible.
- Stay in contact with your mobile network provider to check if any illegal SIM has been issued without your permission or knowledge.
You can adopt all aforementioned precautionary measures to avoid getting affected by SIM swap deceptions. If somehow you have become the victim of any such activity, acting fast can always minimize the damage caused by fraudsters. Take quick action by calling the phone company or inform your bank straight away as soon as you come to know about the SIM swap cheat. This will definitely reduce the adverse impact of the attack.
Sandra Larson is a writer at essay writing services australia and security analyst, having in-depth knowledge of online scams and mobile network providers. She has written many helpful articles on improving security measures in modern technology. Larson has also devised ways to reduce the damage caused by hackers.