The mobile world often has scams and scams that force you to be very cautious if you participate. One of the most common deceptions is slamming, that scam that changes your telephone operator without you noticing it at any time.
Although a few years ago it seemed that the disappearance of SIM cards was near, the truth is that they are still standing, and they are also the protagonists of scams that can hit you. We present to you SIM swapping, an increasingly widespread mobile scam that you should pay close attention to.
What is SIM swapping and why you should be careful
As the name suggests in English, lo SIM swap is a modification or duplicate of a SIM card to transfer the data to a new hacker-controlled card. After gathering personal information about the victim, the attacker impersonates her in front of the telephone company agents, obtaining that dangerous SIM card change.
In SIM swapping, social engineering is used with the operator of the operator, not with the user himself. Through psychological manipulation, the hacker obtains all the data from the victim's SIM to be transferred to his card so that he can use it when verifying banking procedures.
To perform this process, the attacker performs a thorough search of the data of the user whose identity he wants to impersonate. As computer security expert Sergio Carrasco explains to El Confidencial, "it is becoming easier and easier to carry out automated scans to see if a place is detected where they can start attacking."
By simply having your date of birth or your phone number, hackers can begin their plan to impersonate you with the phone company. Like this, they create a false identity with which to convince the telephone agent that you want to change or duplicate your SIM card because you have lost it or it is damaged, for example.
Any user with a SIM card can be the victim of a scam that mainly tries to attack the bank account.
It is clear that the operator must pay close attention to these possible cases, but there are also human oversights or errors. As soon as the agent gives the green light to change, the hacker gets more than just accessing your phone number. With the duplicate, you get your address book, photos, videos and bank account information.
This last detail is the most important, because, with your SIM card, the scammer can now verify the banking transactions made from your account. In addition, the phone number is usually already linked to email, social networks and many other digital services that you currently use.
The lucrative purpose of SIM trading is perfectly illustrated in the case of Joel Ortiz, a young student convicted of hacking SIM cards to steal cryptocurrencies. By doubling the SIM cards of its victims, Ortiz raised $ 5 million in cryptocurrencies. After his corresponding trial, the scammer became the world's first convict for kidnapping this type of card.
This increasingly popular mobile scam can target any user. You have already seen that, in a matter of seconds, you can be without a SIM and without all the data you save on it. However, the most important scare comes when you discover that your bank account has been the victim of a looting based on verified wire transfers with your phone number.
How to avoid SIM swapping?
As we have said, anyone can be a victim of this dangerous SIM card fraud. However, there are several practices you can keep in mind when protecting yourself from SIM swapping:
- Don't post a lot of personal information on the Internet, especially on social media. The more your data is on the network, the easier it will be for hackers to impersonate you. The same happens with your cell phone, it's not the safest place to store all your information.
- Always use double checking and other security reinforcement systems. Plus, protect all your passwords by keeping them totally private.
- Ask your operator for request more personal information when you go to perform any procedure.
- Don't connect your phone number to your bank accounts.