Home >money >calculators >De-jargoned: What is SIM swap fraud?

Financial transactions are gradually moving from cash to electronic, especially with both the government and the central bank emphasising on cashless and paperless transactions. While technology makes banking more convenient, it also exposes customers to various risks such as phishing, identity theft, card skimming, vishing and cyber stalking. SIM swap fraud is one such fraud.

How does it happen?

The fraudster will first collect your personal banking information through phishing, vishing, smishing or any other means. Phishing means collecting information from a customer by sending fake mails, while vishing means calling a customer posing as a bank executive or an official from the central bank and collecting private information for identity theft. Under smishing, the customer receives an SMS with a web link, which, if clicked, downloads a malicious program causing theft of data.

Once the fraudster has your personal information, he gets your SIM blocked. Next, he obtains a duplicate SIM card by visiting the mobile operator’s retail outlet with fake identity proof. The mobile operator deactivates the genuine SIM card which was blocked and issues a new SIM to the fraudster. It is now simple to generate a one-time password (OTP) required for transactions using the stolen banking information. This OTP is received on the new SIM held by the fraudster through which further transactions can take place.

How to avoid being cheated?

If your mobile has stopped working for unusual reasons, check with your mobile operator to make sure you haven’t fallen victim to the SIM swap scam.

Never disclose your Internet banking password or personal identification number (PIN) to anyone. In case anyone calls you for details such as the password or PIN, know that it is a fraudster.

Ask your bank to give you details of your financial transaction through two channels. For instance, register for SMS as well as email alerts to stay informed about the activities in your bank account. Check your bank statements and transaction history. This will help you spot any unusual transactions.

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