There are all kinds of scams out there that we need to protect ourselves from, and one that is especially on the rise right now is known as SIM swapping.
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This type of scam takes control of your phone number and makes everything from receiving calls and texts to accessing your banking information an absolute nightmare.
A SIM card, or a subscriber identity module card, is a small card that contains a chip and is placed inside every smartphone. The SIM card is what allows you to receive calls and text messages on your phone. Without a SIM card, smartphones would be useful only for accessing the Internet on a WiFi network or taking pictures and videos.
The reason why criminals would want access to your SIM card is that it allows them to have complete control over your phone number. They start by gathering as much information on you as they can. They might do this through social media stalking, data collection through phishing emails, buying your personal and financial information on the dark web and more.
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Once they feel they have enough of your information, they call your phone carrier and pretend to be you. They tell the carrier that the SIM card to their (your) phone is either lost or damaged so that the carrier will activate a new card in the scammer’s possession.
When that happens, your telephone will port to the scammer’s phone instead of your phone, and all your calls and text messages will go directly to them instead of you.
Once scammers have control over your phone number, they can access your bank, email or social media accounts by receiving codes and password resets directly to their phone. They might even set up a second bank account in your name to gain more access to your funds. An attacker can then use this access to steal your money or engage in other criminal activity.
Here are some key clues that might tell you that you’ve been a victim of SIM swap fraud:
How can I protect myself from SIM swapping?
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