SIM swapping gained quite an attention when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account was hacked on his own platform. A study by Princeton University has revealed that five major US wireless carriers – AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Tracfone, and US Mobile – are susceptible to SIM swap scams. And this sim hijacking is on a rise in developing countries like Africa and Latin America.
What is SIM swapping?
SIM swapping is when your account is taken over by someone else by fraud through phone-based authentication usually two-factor authentication or two-step verification. This could give the hacker access to your email, bank accounts, online wallets and more.
How does the swap occur?
In a SIM swap, scammers exploit the second step in two-factor verification, where either a text message or a call is given to your number for verification.
Citywire further explains the process, “Usually, a basic SIM-card swapping work when scammers call a mobile carrier, impersonating the actual owner and claiming to have lost or damaged their SIM card. They then try to convince the customer service representative to activate a new SIM card in the fraudster’s possession. This enables the fraudsters to port the victim’s telephone number to the fraudster’s device containing a different SIM.”
After accessing the account, the scammers can control your email, bank accounts, online wallets and more.
Detecting SIM swapping attack
• The first sign is if your text messages and cell phones aren’t functioning, it’s probable that your account is hijacked.
• If the login credentials set by you stop working then it’s probably a sign that your account has been taken over. Contact your telecom provider and bank immediately.
• If you get a message from your telecom provider that your SIM card has been activated on another device, be warned it’s a red sign.