What is SIM-swapping and why you should be careful with this widespread mobile scam

The world of mobile telephony often has scams and scams that force you to be very cautious if you participate in it. One of the most popular deceptions is slamming, that fraud that changes your telephone operator without you being aware of it at any time.

Although it seemed a few years ago 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 affect you. We present you SIM-swapping, an increasingly widespread mobile scam that you should be very careful about.

What is SIM-swapping, and why you should be careful

As its name suggests in English, SIM-swapping is a change or duplicate of a SIM card to transfer data to a new card controlled by hackers. After collecting personal information about the victim, the attacker impersonates her before the agents of the telephone company, achieving that dangerous SIM card change.

In SIM-swapping, social engineering is used with the operator’s worker, not with the user himself. Through psychological manipulation, the hacker gets all the data from the victim’s SIM to be transferred to his card to use during the verification of banking procedures.

To carry out this process, the attacker performs an extensive search for data of the user whose identity he wants to impersonate. As the cybersecurity expert Sergio Carrasco explains to El Confidencial“it is becoming easier and easier to carry out automated sweeps to see if a place is detected were to start attacking

By simply having your date of birth or phone number, hackers can begin their plan to impersonate you at the phone company. Thus, they create a false identity to convince the telephony 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 seeks to attack the bank account.

The operator must pay maximum attention to these possible causes, but there are also oversights or human errors. As soon as the agent gives the green light for the change, the hacker gets a lot more than just access to your phone number. With the duplicate, you get your address book, photos, videos, and information about your bank account.

This last detail is the most important because, with your SIM card, the scammer can now verify the banking operations carried out from your account. In addition, the phone number is usually already linked to emails, social networks, and many other digital services that you currently use.

What is SIM swapping and why you should be careful

The lucrative purpose of SIM-swapping is perfectly illustrated in Joel Ortiz, a young student who was convicted of hacking SIM cards to steal cryptocurrencies. Doubling the SIMs of his victims, Ortiz got $ 5 million in cryptocurrencies. After his corresponding trial, the scammer became the first convicted in the world for kidnapping this type of card.

This increasingly popular mobile scam can affect any user. You have already seen that, in a matter of seconds, you can be left without a SIM card and without all the data that you save on it. However, the most important scare comes when you discover that your bank account has been the victim of looting based on verified transfers with your phone number.

How can you avoid SIM-swapping?

As we have said, anyone can be a victim of this dangerous fraud related to SIM cards. However, there are several practices that 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 mobile phone; it is not the safest place to store all your information.
  • Always use double verification and other security reinforcement systems. Also, protect all your passwords by keeping them private.
  • Ask your operator to request more personal information when you go to carry out any procedure.
  • Don’t link your phone number to your bank accounts.