This is a warning for all those who have a smartphone. Significantly, criminal hackers can target you and get away with your money. This can easily happen due to what has come to be know as SIM-swap fraud. And yes, it can happen to you too? Know here, how your mobile phone number can wipe out your money. This is what you should do. What happens when you wake up one morning and check your messages where a hefty sum has just been stolen from your bank account. First few thoughts would be – Did i make any bank transactions somewhere? Is there any misprint in message? Did my bank make a mistake in debiting an amount? Where did the money go? Probably, you have lost the money forever. Yes a long list of questions and panic will well-up within you. There are a host of ways in committing a fraud, for instance, phishing mails, fake apps and compromising bank accounts from ATMs. But not many are aware that their own mobile phone numbers can take away their money leaving them in deep shock. The tragedy can be massive, indeed.
Notably, fraud via someone’s mobile phone number is done through as SIM-swap. And you must pay attention to make sure there is no bad ending for you regarding your hard-earned money.
Shocking, but quite true, SIM-swap frauds are a big attraction for fraudsters. Proof? This latest shocking case reveals how big a fraud can be carried out by criminals. In the latest case in Mumbai, a businessman lost a massive Rs 1.86 crore! A criminal group used his SIM card to steal money from his company’s bank account.
Currently, BKC Cyber Crime Police Station is looking into the matter. The case is filed under Indian Penal Code sections 420 (cheating), 419 (impersonation) and 34 (criminal act done by several people in furtherance of common intention) and sections 43 (damage to computer system and 66D (impersonation) of the Information Technology Act.
SIM-Swap Mobile Phone Lesson for You
Smartphones have emerged as an important part of life, as almost every secret is stored in it whether it be regarding family or friends or even e-mail, bank account details. Almost everyone must have saved their financial credential details in their smartphones. Not just that, if your SIM card is swapped or forged, it can provide access to every personal detail, including bank names, usernames and passwords.
Importantly, through their mobile phone number, a citizen gets alerts like One Time Password (OTP), Unique registration number (URN), 3D secure code etc. required for financial transactions or to make various financial inquiries.
ICICI Bank on its website says, “Under SIM swap/exchange, fraudster manages to gets a new SIM card issued for your registered mobile number through the mobile service provider. With the help of the new SIM card fraudster gets URN/OTP & alerts required for doing financial transactions through your bank account.”
How does a SIM-swap work?
There are many ways in creating a fraud using SIM card. Firstly, a fraudster gathering all necessary information of a person’s financial credentials via phishing, vishing or by some other means.
These fraudsters can go to any length to forge your details. They even sometimes steal identity of the victims.
Once necessary details are gathered about the person they wish to steal the money from, then these fraudsters approach a mobile operator and get their SIM card blocked. Later, these scammers call the operator again and ask for new SIM card using your personal identification. Yes, you read that right!
Crucially, by doing so, the mobile phone company deactivates the genuine SIM card and unknowingly issues a new one on same number to the fraudster.
All a fraudster needed was your SIM number, as then they would generate OTP, which are required to facilitate transactions needed for banking information. It needs to be noted that, banks never mail their customer with an OTP password, for every little transactions either transferring money, changing net banking password, paying bills or using credit cards – the lender always sends an OTP password involving generally six-digit number.
Now that the fraudster has a SIM card with your number, it is they who receive the six-digit OTP number for carrying banking transactions. Thereby, these scammers take away your money right under your nose!
Yes, much to your shock and surprise, criminals just stole your money and you are not even aware of it!
How can you save your money from disappearing through a SIM card fraud?
1. Always be aware of phishing emails. Phishing emails comes with an embedded link or messages asking for financial details. Sometimes phishing emails can be scary as they will ask customers to take action immediately or else their account will become inactive or no longer operation. Hence, there are high chances of people falling into the trap.
One way to check phishing mails is by reviewing the email address who sent you the mail in the first place. If your bank has sent you a mail, their logo and tag will be given below of the mail. Even a bank will never send you a mail using gmail.com or yahoo.com at the end of an address.
2. Second method would be to never submit your financial details on a website which you have opened via a link in your email. These scammers are very smart in creating a website that can exactly be a look alike of your official banks.
3. Furthermore, update an anti-virus protection in both your computer and mobile phones. By doing so, you will get an update of viruses that are taking place in your sim card or email address.
4. Sometimes, a fraudster will also try giving you nuisance calls on your phone, which can lead to lot of irritation. Basically, a fraudster tries to make you shut down your phone, so that they can take action immediately. If this takes place, then you should call your service provider and alarm the situation. There are also ways to check who is calling you through apps.
5. Try not giving a lot of personal information on social media portals like Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. These details can include your address, spouse name, family members information or even your birthday date. These are some information, which is needed during applying for a new SIM card. Also when you forget your password, there are many banks who allow you to retrieve your password by answering a security questions which generally involves these details.
6. Avoid giving too much details on social media platforms. Always have a privacy setting in your social media accounts and make sure your status is only seen among your friends and families.
7. Make an habit of checking your bank statement, debit card details, credit card statements and even ATM withdrawals. This will help in identifying an unknown transaction if any has taken place.
8. If your SIM card is blocked, immediately visit your mobile operator. There can be an issue where your SIM card can be blocked by the telecom companies for a specific period. If still your SIM card is not activated, then file a complaint on the block SIM card.
9. Most IMPORTANTLY, ask your telecom operator for a private access PIN on their account which makes it difficult for a fraudster to clone your SIM card, as they will need this code for access. Hence, check with your telecom operator about such facilities, and also get an knowledge from them on how they protect their SIM card number.
10. Finally, it is always advisable to stay alert, rather than wake up one morning losing money from your bank account. Don’t let your SIM card fall under wrong hands. Stay vigilant always!