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SIM Swap Scams: How to Protect Yourself

If your mobile phone is your go-to device for using your email, paying your bills/shopping online through various digital payment apps, or posting to various social media accounts, then you understand that you are not alone. So, let's just imagine that your mobile phone suddenly stops working: no data, no messages, no phone calls. Then you receive an unexpected message from your cellular service provider that your SIM card has been activated on a new mobile device. What's going on? If you think how this happened, then know that it may be a sign that a scammer or hacker has used a SIM card swap to hijack your mobile phone number.

If anything like this happens to you, then definitely inform the telecom operator.

SIM Swap Scams

So how do scammers swap SIM cards this way?

Scammers or hackers can call your mobile phone service provider and say that your phone is lost or damaged. They then ask your service provider to activate a new SIM card linked to your phone number on a new phone — a phone they have. If your service provider believes in fake and fake stories and activates the new SIM card, thus the scammer or hacker will be able to get all your mobile messages, calls, data and other important information directly on a new phone. The scammer or hacker – who now has complete control of your mobile number – can open new cellular accounts in your name or take over a new phone or your social media account, bank account using your information.

With your login credentials, the scammer can log into your bank account and steal your money or take over your email or social media accounts. And by changing the password of your account, you can be excluded from your accounts.

If you become a victim of fraud, report to the bank, inform the telecom operator and file a complaint on the cyber helpline number - 1930.

Here's what you can do to protect yourself from sim card swap attacks:

Never respond to calls, emails or messages requesting personal information. These can be phishing attempts by scammers who want to get personal information to access your mobile, bank account, credit card or other accounts. If you receive a request for your account or personal information, contact the company using a phone number or website that you know is genuine.

Limit the personal information you share online. If possible, avoid posting your full name, address or phone number on public sites. An identity stealer can find that information and use it to verify your identity and answer the security questions needed to log into your accounts.

Set a PIN or password on your cellular account. This can help protect your account from unauthorized changes. For information on how to do this, check with your service provider's website.

Consider using strong passwords and security questions on accounts with sensitive personal or financial information. If you use MFA i.e., multi-factor authentication, keep in mind that message verification cannot prevent SIM card swaps. If you're concerned about SIM card swapping or any other scam, you can use the prolific and trusted app or security key, Security Question.

If you have been a victim of SIM swap scam:

• Contact your mobile service provider immediately to take back control of your phone number. After retrieving your phone number, be sure to change the passwords for your various accounts as well.

• Be sure to check your credit card, bank and other financial accounts for unauthorized fees or changes. If you see any suspicious entries, be sure to notify the company or financial institution immediately.

• If you think a scammer or hacker has your personal information — such as your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number — visit the for specific information.

And find out what further measures you can take to protect personal information on your phone and how to keep your personal information safe online.

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