Did you know that the very same smartphone in your hand could potentially offer a cybercriminal a way to access your financial accounts? What’s more, your phone doesn’t even need to leave your possession for it to become a potential concern. All a cybercriminal needs are your phone number.
This type of fraud, known as SIM swapping, can be used as a way of taking over your bank accounts. And any other account that relies on phone-based authentication. Successful SIM swap fraud will see the cybercriminal taking over your mobile phone number and using it to gain access to the accounts and data that you may have believed to be secured.
How does it work?
Think about your bank account and the way in which you access it. To access your bank account, you will enter your username and your password. To verify that it is you attempting to access the account, the bank will send a one-time password (OTP) to your cell phone so that you can complete the process of logging in.
This process is typically efficient. And it does serve as an effective way of verifying that it’s you who is accessing the account. However, what if a bad actor was able to change the SIM card that is linked to your mobile phone number? In an instant, they now have the ability to get the OTP to your account.
This will give them control of your account, your finances, and so much more.
Understanding the SIM card
Also referred to as SIM splitting or simjacking, this type of fraud sees cybercriminals taking advantage of a vulnerability in two-factor authentication and verification. The subscriber identity module (SIM) card is the small card inside of your mobile phone that stores user data. It’s important to note that only GSM phones contain a SIM card, CDMA mobile phones do not use a removable SIM card.
The SIM card contains user data and authorizes the mobile phone to use the mobile network. This makes it a valuable asset to a would-be fraudster.
How it happens
In order to take control of your number, cybercriminals will begin with a bit of social engineering and gather as much personal info about you as they can. With this information on hand, they can then call your mobile carrier and impersonate you, with the claim of having lost or damaged the SIM card.
The customer service rep will activate a new SIM card that the fraudster already has in their possession. In an instant, this will port your mobile number to the fraudster’s device and the SIM they are using.
If your carrier has layers of security questions for you to answer, how then can cybercriminal access your account? All of the data that they gathered about you will prove to be useful here. This info could come through the use of malware on your device, the dark web, social media research, or phishing schemes.
With control over your mobile number, a fraudster can now access your text messages from banks and even online retailers that may have your financial details stored. They will be able to get any password reset codes that are sent to the phone, for any one of your connected accounts.
With that, they’re now able to access everything you access. Including your bank accounts.
Signs of SIM swap fraud
There are a few warning signs that may help you to recognize that you’ve fallen victim to a SIM swap scam.
- Social media posts that are not your own. There have been cases where fraudsters have accessed the social media accounts of high-profile targets, with the goal of causing trouble.
- If you’re unable to make calls or send text messages, this is a very strong indicator that your SIM card has been deactivated.
- You are not able to access your bank account, credit card accounts, or email. If your login credentials suddenly all stop working, you should contact the relevant organization immediately to protect yourself.
- Your mobile phone provider may notify you that your phone number or SIM card has been activated on a new device.
Can you protect against a SIM swap scam?
There are a few steps that you can take in order to help protect yourself against a fraudster swapping out your SIM card.
Unfortunately, traditional cell phone companies are not doing much to protect you. But it is not all bad news, there is a cellular phone company named efani that has stepped up and made it more difficult for hackers.
Replace your existing mobile service plan with a secure efani SAFE plan today, No Contract! efani is a secure mobile service with an encrypted SIM Card that secures your mobile account from potential SIM Swap vulnerabilities, your personal information, as well as $5M insurance coverage per individual in the event of loss as a result of a SIMSwap.
The SAFE plan comes with a 100% money-back guarantee for 60-days includes:
You’re protected up to $5 million for financial losses resulting from a SIM hack. (includes: Crypto, Banking, Brokerage & Other Losses)
An 11-step integrity and authentication check prevents SIM-swapping
No limits Coverage
Unlimited Calls Texts & Data within US Canada & Mexico
Secure your assets, privacy, and phone Toll-Free 1- (833) MY-EFANI that’s 1-833-693-3264 or visit the website at https://nonprofitforgood.org