You may have heard about a new SIM swapping scam that allows scammers to access bank accounts and personal info. We’re going to tell you how it works and how you can avoid falling victim to it.

How does the SIM swapping scam work?

It involves scammers moving your phone number to a new device by contacting your cell phone provider, pretending to be you, and saying that the phone has been lost or stolen.

The scammer asks for your phone number to be transferred to a new SIM card on a new device that they already have (this can be done remotely, without the phone or SIM card physically present).

After the scammer has moved your phone number to their phone, they start downloading apps for social media, email, online banking, and exploit two-factor authentication by hitting the “forgot password” button. This lets the scammer reset your passwords by using the verification code that is sent to your phone number (which they now have).

So, at this point, your phone number has been transferred to a new device. You may notice something is wrong when your phone cannot place calls, as your service has been disconnected and your number is no longer connected to your phone.  

How to avoid the SIM swapping scam

  • Keep your personal information, such as your birthday, off social media. This info can be used by scammers to answer security questions from your cell phone provider.
  • Don’t fall victim to phishing emails that ask you to update account information or to confirm a password
  • Use an offline password manager
  • Contact your cell phone provider and ask about additional security steps that can be added to your account
  • If you decide that you don’t want to use two-factor authentication, consider removing your phone number from those apps or contact them about alternative security measures
  • If your phone service is suddenly disconnected, contact your provider immediately

Speaking with your cell phone provider is an important first step to find out how your account is protected and what security measures are currently in place. You may be able to add an additional layer of protection by changing your security question to something that only you would know.

Did we miss anything? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.  

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