SIM swap attacks on rise

Cybercrime officials apart from alerting telecom service providers, urge citizens to take necessary precautions

By   |  Published: 6th Jul 2020  12:25 am

Hyderabad: The Cyberabad Cybercrime Cell has warned citizens about an alarmingly increasing trend in SIM swapping cases. Cybercrime officials apart from alerting telecom service providers, urged citizens to take necessary precautions in order to evade SIM swap attacks.

“We keep a track of the different kind of cases registered and we have noticed an increase in such cases. This is a precautionary measure, we are sending warning messages to citizens that such attempts are happening,” said Rohini Priyadarshini, DCP (Crimes), Cyberabad.

Meanwhile, telecom service providers have been instructed not to issue duplicate SIM cards without verifying the original mail ID apart from verifying the proofs submitted by the person who visits the store to get a SIM card replaced or for a duplicate.

SIM swap is a process by which your mobile number stops functioning on the SIM card in your possession and starts functioning on another card, most probably in the possession of a fraudster.

The fraudsters pose as executives of mobile service providers and call the victim with a possible solution for network-related issues like call drop and internet speed. Cybercrime cell officials have warned citizens against such calls after complaints of this nature were received. The police have advised against entertaining such callers or forwarding such SMSes.

“In case of a fraud, contact your service provider and the bank accounts where the number is registered. Further, report the matter to a cybercrime police station,” the official said.

There are times when one needs to get a SIM replaced, like when it is blocked or not working properly. In such case, one will have to ask the service provider for another SIM with the same number. Once the request is placed, the service provider will deactivate the old SIM and activate the new SIM in a few hours. In such cases, the new SIM will have all the data from the old SIM such as contact lists, SMSes, emails, apps, messages, photos and other media, officials said.

Crime branch officials said fraudsters get the SIM swapped when they want to steal personal data to misuse it.

“Fraudsters obtain your personal information through a wide variety of techniques, like skimming, vishing and phishing. Once that’s done, they immediately contact your mobile operator, block your existing SIM card, and obtain a new SIM card,” they said.

Once the fraudsters have your data, they approach the service provider, posing as genuine customers, along with some fake documents and a SIM swap request. The company then deactivates the old SIM, and issues the new SIM to the fraudster.

“And on the SIM getting swapped, the fraudster is in possession of the new SIM card, he will have access to the victim’s phone number and will be able to operate his or her bank account etc. Since the victim will be unable to use the mobile services during the period they will not receive alerts or OTPs from banks,” said an official.

SIM swap


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