You can lose your money; here’s how

SIM card swapping scams over the phone are increasing dramatically. A SIM card swapping scam over the phone is when scammers change your SIM card and use it to steal your money.

SIM card swapping scams over the phone are increasing worldwide. This creepy sim card swapping cybercrime can give scammers access to your phone number allowing them to steal your money from your bank account. These days, scammers are finding innovative ways to swindle money from innocent victims. And one of the most popular ways is SIM swapping. Yesterday, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a new Public Service Announcement stating that SIM card swapping scams have increased 15-fold in just two years. In 2021 itself, there were 1,611 incidents of this scam where the total victim losses were calculated at over $68 million. But it is not only the United States who are facing this new sim card swapping scam, Indians have also faced this problem. The problem is that phone users themselves give secret information and OTPs related to their phone numbers and bank accounts. The intention of cyber criminals is to trick innocent phone users into revealing their secret data. Unfortunately, too many people fall for this scam. So, the first step is to make sure you protect yourself against online scams like these by following a few simple guidelines. Here’s how to avoid the SIM swap scam.

SIM card swapping or SIM swapping does not mean that your physical SIM card is stolen. This is how it works.

How the SIM card swap scam works

Cybercriminals use various techniques to block your SIM card and gain access to it. There are two steps to this elaborate SIM card swap scam. First, the scammer would send malware to your smartphone via emails, rogue apps and malicious websites. Through this, they have access to your basic banking information as well as your phone number.

In the next stage of the SIM scam, the scammer will call you and pretend to be a representative of your network provider. Then it will ask you various questions to get your details such as Aadhaar card number, PAN number, address, photograph and even the OTP sent by the telecom company or government agency. This is all the information the scammer needs to request a new SIM card from the real network provider. This is how your phone’s SIM card is swapped. Usually, people trust nature and will give these details when someone impersonates an authority figure or claims to be calling from a telecom company or even a bank.

After that, the scammer approaches the network service provider and asks either to transfer the number or to request a new SIM card saying that the old SIM card was lost, stolen or not working properly. Once he proves his identity using all the details previously shared by the victims, the scammer deactivates the original SIM card of your phone. And that’s all. The SIM swap scam is over.

Now, the scammer can use your banking information and perform transactions at will, since they also control OTP notifications and SMS. While the SIM swap phone scam is scary, there are things you can do to protect yourself.