How to protect yourself from SIM swapping attacks

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SIM swapping

There are different risks: scams, cyberattacks, fraud, theft, exchanges, among others, where unfortunately, they are always latent in daily life; However, they can be minimized, which is why today we want to tell you about what they are and how to protect yourself from SIM swapping attacks, a topic that is gaining strength, so let’s see what it is about.

What are SIM swapping attacks?

So that you understand what this type of attack is about, imagine that you are sitting comfortably on your sofa and from one moment to the next, your mobile phone begins to receive debit after debit alert messages, where you see that transactions and the balance of your account vanishes, something terrifying, to which you choose to communicate with your bank but the line does not connect, you cannot use your cell phone, which makes you a victim of a SIM swap attack (System Identity Module).

So, SIM swapping, or SIM grabbing, is a fraudulent way to access someone’s mobile number and this occurs when a criminal convinces your mobile phone provider to transfer your phone number to a different SIM card, something hard to believe but it is something that happens.

How does SIM swapping work?

In many cases, a scammer begins their personal SIM swapping attack by collecting data about their target, a wealthy norm. They will also confirm phishing emails or buy information on the dark web to trick victims into revealing information such as dates of birth, social security numbers, and passwords. Fraudsters can also explore social media and public websites to collect personally identifiable information.

Once the scammer has enough information about the victim, he takes their identity, contacts their cell phone provider, poses as the victim, and asks the phone company to transfer the victim’s number to a card. SIM controlled by the scammer.

SIM swapping can also happen directly at cell phone stores, with corrupt store employees stealing a customer’s SIM card and replacing it with a new one.

With the stolen card in hand, the fraudster can circumvent the security features of websites by intercepting passwords sent via text messages, resetting them, and gaining access to bank and investment accounts. Some scammers will empty accounts by investing balances in bitcoins, while others will create new bank accounts in the client’s name to mask the withdrawals. Attackers are also likely to reset passwords on other accounts, including social media, email, and cloud storage sites.

How to avoid SIM swapping attacks

To prevent any type of attack, it is best to take precautions to avoid being a victim in the first place, for this:

Protect your phone and your SIM

Fortunately, there are many methods of protection, including PINs, passwords, patterns, fingerprint scanning and facial recognition, but you should not only protect your mobile, also think about your physical SIM. To do this, lock it with a numeric PIN that you must enter each time you restart your device.

Block your phone number with your service provider

Many network service providers offer the ability to freeze the port or block the number to protect them from unauthorized transfers.

Use strong passwords and security questions

Think of strong passwords, which have about 12 characters, including letters, numbers or special symbols. Consider password managers to store them and thus not forget them.

Activate two-factor identification

2FA is another way to quickly add an extra layer of security to your accounts, something that is rolling out to everything online.

Enable biometric authentication on your device

Face and touch identification offer a level of protection that exceeds the previous ones.

Limit the amount of personal information you share online

Avoid giving out a lot of confidential information on social media, giving out your location, preferences, and things like that that will expose you to risk.

Be wary of phishing emails, texts and calls

The latter, phishing, is very common for scams, since criminals pose as real entities to ask for personal information online, avoid giving this information, remember that banks or other institutions will never ask you for personal information.

As you can see, there are many ways to minimize the risk of SIM swapping scams, so keep these tips in mind and don’t underestimate the bad guys, be careful!

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