Have you heard of SIM swapping? It’s a new trick that hackers are using to get money and mess up your life.
What is SIM Swapping?
So, what is SIM swapping? It’s when a hacker tricks your cell phone company into thinking that you have activated your SIM card on another phone. In other words, the hackers are taking your phone number and then associating it with a different SIM card.
If the switch is a success, your device will be deactivated, and all of your phones, texts, data, and more will come to the hacker. This means, of course, that the hacker could get access to any account, including your bank account, and could even totally
lock you out of your accounts.
How the SIM Swap Scam is Identified
A hacker doesn’t need your device to do a SIM swap. It can all be done remotely, as long as they can convince your service provider to do it. How do they convince your service provider? They give them information about you, such as your birthday, Social
Security number, or account number. They can easily get this information from your mail, email, or account.
So, how do you know if you have been the target of a SIM swap? Generally, it’s when you see weird behavior from your phone, like the inability to send texts or make calls for no reason.
Preventing a SIM Swap
There are a number of things that you can do to prevent a SIM swap. Here are some tips:
- Start with your online mobile account –Bad guys accessing your online mobile account can own you easily. Set up two factor and use a hard to crack
- Watch for Phishing – Most scammers get the information they need to SIM swap by using phishing emails. These are fake emails that are sent to potential victims, and might have weird links, fake login screens, or other methods for tricking
people into giving up their info.
- Don’t Share Your Info Online – Another thing to do is to watch what you share online. Scammers can also get information from what people share with others on social media, etc.
- Protect Your Accounts – Check all of your accounts for security and consider doing things like setting up two-factor authentication, hard to guess passwords, and think about unlinking your phone from your accounts.
Are You a Victim of a SIM Swap?
If you are a victim of a SIM swap, there are certain things you can do:
- Contact law enforcement, your bank, the three credit bureaus, and your cell phone provider.
- Change all of your passwords, especially Venmo, PayPal, and any account that is tied to your phone number. Make sure that confirmations are NOT sent to your phone number.
- If, for any reason, you cannot log into your account, you should contact customer service of the company ASAP and give them a heads up about what happened.