With the increasing use of mobile phones and other mobile devices, the bad guys out there have brought crime into the cyber world. Among the hundreds of ways of committing financial fraud and cyber crimes, one that is most damaging is SIM Swap.
SIM-Swap technique is used by fraudsters to block the existing SIM card and get a duplicate SIM card for the registered mobile number from the service provider. Many service providers have been known to not carry out sufficient checks to ensure that the duplicate SIM card goes to the rightful owner. The service provider should insist on proper documentation such as national ID card, passport, Aadhar card, or other photo ID proofs before a new SIM card is issued. But this is rarely done and the SIM card is issued against an existing phone number.
Once the SIM is swapped, the fraudster gets access to all OTPs, financial accounts and card related alerts and details to do financial transactions without the victim’s knowledge. Since most transactions are authorized by an OTP, and the OTP is available on the swapped SIM to the fraudster, you can be certain that the bank account will be wiped clean in no time. Any messages sent by the bank will also not reach you because, remember you don’t have the SIM now. The first indication of trouble will be if your phone does not show a network connection for a long time say more than an hour or so. In such a case you should contact your service provider immediately through other means like email or direct visit to the nearest store.
What can you do to prevent a SIM swap?
- Contact your mobile operator as soon as you receive an indication of a possible SIM swap, like no network for about an hour or so.
- Enquire with your mobile operator if you have no network connectivity and are not receiving any calls or alerts for unusually long periods.
- Do not switch off your cell phone in the event that you receive numerous unknown calls. It could be a ploy to get you to turn off your phone and prevent you from noticing a tampered network connection.
- Register for SMS and Email alerts that inform you of any activity regarding your bank account or credit card.
- Check your bank statements and online banking transaction history regularly so you can identify any irregularities.
Stay alert. Stay safe.