Ever since the introduction of UPI, the Indian economy has taken rapid strides toward a digital economy. While this has given us a lot of convenience, there certainly has been a rise in digital fraud. One of the new additions to fraudulent activities has been SIM card fraud, which led to a man in Navi Mumbai being accused of having taken Rs. 18.74 lakhs from the company’s bank account without permission using SIM card fraud.
What is SIM Card Fraud?
SIM card fraud cases have been increasing rapidly. It is also referred to as SIM swapping or SIM hijacking. It involves a form of account takeover fraud where fraudsters take over your SIM by falsely reporting your phone as lost or stolen and requesting a duplicate SIM card with the same phone number.
With a new SIM card with your number, they have access to all of your calls and messages and all the OTP codes from all the accounts where you have registered it as the primary contact number. With control over the SIM card, they can potentially access connected accounts, conduct unauthorized transactions at stores, or even transfer money to different accounts. This leaves you susceptible to identity theft, as the fraudster can impersonate you, reaching out to your friends and family to request money.
The fraudster gained illicit entry into the corporate bank accounts by manipulating the log-in credentials of a telecommunications services company, triggering an investigation by the Cyber Police, prompted by the company’s September complaint.
“The investigation revealed that the bank account-holder in whose account Rs. 18.74 lahks was transferred from the company’s account had shared account details, including the ATM PIN, checkbook, and mobile number with a man in West Bengal. Police tracked down the location of the man, identified as Noor Islam Sanfui, in 23 Parganas distract and nabbed him,” an official said.
“In this particular crime, the man using the genuine mobile phone number had received a SIM saying his SIM Card had been deactivated but he failed to notice. The same SIM Card was found active in the mobile phone of the accused person,” the official continues.
The arrest of the alleged perpetrator is a reminder of how your SIM Card can pave the way for a huge fraud.
Here are some ways that can be used to safeguard oneself against SIM Card Fraud.
Ways to Protect Against SIM Card Fraud
- Scammers collect various information like Aadhaar and then apply for duplicate SIMs and if they are successful then they can commit fraud. Therefore, it is mandatory that one stays vigilant and ensures that their SIM always has network coverage. If your SIM has lost network, someone else might have gained access to your account. Make sure that you can make and receive calls and messages at all times.
- Smishing Phishing are hacking method in which links are sent to users, claiming that these are from financial institutions. They have a form to fill out personal details and if one fills it up, he/she might lose control over their sim card. Downloading some apps also allows scamsters to control your phone.
- If you lose your phone or SIM, immediately get your SIM blocked by the service provider. Obtain a duplicate SIM and continue using it. SIM cards can be locked as well. To access these locked cards, you need a password. This will prevent SIM fraud.
- Having eSIMs can prevent SIM card fraud. It is almost impossible to transfer an eSIM without unlocking the device and even if the phone is stolen, eSIMs can’t be accessed. If your device supports e-SIM convert your physical sim to e-SIM.