This isn’t a new type of fraud but up until recently it hasn’t been reported in Ireland. SIM Card Swap Scam is when criminals dupe a mobile service provider into assigning a mobile number to a new sim. The legitimate holder of the mobile account will see their service drop after the criminals have taken control of their number and will only discover that they have been targeted after they contact their mobile service provider.
Unlike Phishing were the fraudster targets you directly, with SIM Card Swap they first contact your mobile phone service provider pretending to be you and attempt to trick them into swapping your phone number onto a card controlled by them. Once they get your number assigned to their SIM card; they can divert calls and intercept texts, effectively locking you out of your own network. Fraudsters use this type of scam when they already have access to your online banking but can’t transfer money out of your account. This is because many banks require two step authentications, before allowing any money transfers. This is normally a code that is send to your mobile number, that of course the fraudsters now control. This scam is often used in conjunction with phishing attacks that allow them access to your banking details, in the first place. To date there has only been one report of this type of scam in Ireland. In early March a man discovered that the signal had dropped on his phone. When he contacted his provider, he was told that a SIM swap had been carried out via live chat. After the phone signal was restored to his own SIM, he discovered a text message on his phone informing him that his application for a €7,000 loan had been approved. He also discovered that there were several attempts to withdraw money from his bank account during the signal drop. Luckily none of the attempts to withdraw money from his account proved successful, however this type of scam has yielded results for fraudsters in other countries.
If you suspect that you have been a victim of SIM swap fraud, contact your mobile provider immediate