SIM Swapping – Let’s talk about a cyber trend

In my previous blogs, I wrote about influencers and online trends. This week’s blog will be about another kind of trend you really need to know about. Over the years, SIM swapping is becoming the new rage in cyberland. I hear you guys think: what is this scam exactly and how can we protect ourselves from it? No need to Google it because I will fill in the gaps for you.

The scam

Getting hacked through your phone number is a real thing: once your network connection stops using and there is no way of getting it working, there might be a reasonable chance that someone has taken over your phone number. Although security measures and mobile phones have changed over the past years, these scammers are still able to move the control of one’s phone account from their SIM card to another SIM that is controlled by them. They contact the victim’s phone provider and request a new SIM card, saying “I lost mine”, whilst pretending to be the victim. Many have connected their online accounts to their phone number. Therefore, after the company swapped the SIMs, they can change the personal settings. Once they have taken over your phone, criminals are thus able to get into your bank account and rob it immediately. Since 2015, this scam has resulted in a total of more than £10m in the UK only.

Avoid being victimized

Often the people who are victimized by the scammers have simply just bad luck. Hackers try to get what they seek for in any possible way.

The Guardian and the NRC addressed some helpful tips and tricks that help you protect yourself from being scammed, robbed, and more. Some seem a bit too forward, but it couldn’t harm to sum them up, if it could save you some trouble, right?

  1. Very important is to ignore unrequested emails, texts, phone calls, etc.
  2. Do not share too much information about yourself on social media. Scammers can hack into your back account when they know the answers to questions such as: ‘What your first pet’s name?’, ‘When were you born?‘ or ‘What is your favorite country?‘. Such questions are asked by banks to verify it is the correct person logging in.
  3. Use unique passwords for each social media platform and make sure no one knows how to log into your accounts. In addition, you could use apps such as Google Authenticator to help you create unique paswords.
  4. Remove your mobile phone number from your profile.
  5. As this sort of scamming is about SIM cards and your banking data, inform both your phone provider and bank as soon as your phone stops functioning.
  6. Fraude often starts with the hacking of a computor. That is why it is important to keep your device updated and therefore, secured.

It is just sad that these precautions are necessary to keep yourself, and your data safe. Just know that there are too many bad people in this world to be ignorant towards concerns like this.

Hopefully, next week I will have the inspiration to write about digital media in a more positive way. Until the next!