Sim swap scam: Here is what you need to know

Sim swap scam: Here is what you need to know

The last thing anyone wants to experience is the horrid nightmare that comes with receiving a bank notification alerting them that all the money in their account has been wiped out – particularly when said transaction happened without their authorisation.

Sadly, criminals everywhere do not sleep and a few people and plenty of people have fallen victim to many banking scams which have seen them go through the inconvenience of trying to get refunded by their banks, often unsuccessfully so.

One of the more common scams is called the sim swap scam, which was the topic of discussion on Cape Talk Radio on Tuesday, after a listener wrote to the station to seek advice after his elderly father had R300 000 withdrawn from his account.

Host John Maytham rang up forensic investigator, Dr David Klatzow to shed more light on how the scam artists operate.

What is the sim swap scam?

Scammers first obtain the victim’s internet banking details through phishing emails.

This personal information is used to pose as the victim in requesting a sim swap from the mobile network provider.

As they have access to all this information – including the calls and texts intended to go to the victim’s cellphone number – the perps can now access the One Time Pin sent by the bank in order to authorise whatever transaction they intend to make, which is more often than not, cleaning out the bank account.

Klatzow, however, believes that the scam succeeds as a result of a collaborative effort.

“The story involves two sets; the banking and the cellphone industry,” Klatzow says. ”

“It involved firstly being able to identify where the money is, which I believe involves some dishonest component or negligent component of the banking industry.

“The second thing is there’s undoubtedly a dishonest component within the cellphone industry, who are able to do SIM swaps without the proper channels being followed.”

What can you do to protect yourself?

Vigilance and a bit of stubbornness always helps. Do not readily give out any private information over the phone.

“Personal information should never be given out to strangers on the phone,” Klatzow advises.

It is also important to always be aware of your phone’s connectivity. If you suddenly cannot make or receive phone calls, it’s important to contact your network provider immediately, and not just assume that there is a problem with the network or your handset.

Also never ignore an SMS alerting you that a sim swap has been requested on your account.

Credit: Siviwe Breakfast, THE SOUTH AFRICAN

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