Phone not working? You might have been scammed
Scammers are using a method called the SIM swap trick to get their hands on the mobiles of unsuspecting victims. This means they can pose as their victims and even set up bank accounts in their names.
Once the fraudsters have done this, they can quickly steal money from their victims. And if this happens to you, you might not even realise your money’s gone until you check your bank account.
We’ll take you through how the SIM swap trick works and how you can make sure you keep your money safe.
What is the SIM swap trick?
To start with, the scammers will get as much information as they can about you. This might be from your Facebook page or they could buy your information from crime groups.
Once they’ve done this, they’ll call your mobile phone network using a blank SIM. They’ll attempt to convince your mobile network that they’re actually you – and that ‘you’ have lost your phone. Using your information, they’ll try to get through the security questions.
If they manage this, they’ll be able to cancel your current SIM and redirect all calls and texts to a new one.
The fraudsters will then call your bank to set up a business account. That’s because there are usually fewer security checks for these types of accounts.
When the business account is open, the fraudsters can then transfer money from your existing bank account to the new account.
And if your bank calls or texts you to confirm the transfer, the scammers can intercept this as they’ve got control of your phone number.
You can read more about this scam on the National Fraud & Cyber Crime website, Action Fraud.
Make sure you don’t end up out of pocket
The SIM swap trick is an advanced and clever way to trick you out of your money. However, you can protect yourself with these tips from Action Fraud.
- Get antivirus protection: Make sure you’ve got decent antivirus software and that you switch your firewall on. Avira and Avast are two free options that can stop dangerous malware infecting your computer.
- Be careful what you share: Don’t put too much personal information on Facebook. Anyone can see this and they could use it to defraud you. Details like your maiden name, your first school and the name of your pet are all popular security questions – so keep these secret.
- Avoid unknown links: If you get an email and you don’t know who it’s from, don’t click on any links or open any attachments. These can install viruses on your computer which can then spy on you.
- Make a strong password: Having decent passwords you don’t use for every account can help you stay safe online. Mix lower case letters and upper case letters and try and include a number and a symbol. This makes it harder for scammers to randomly guess – making your accounts more secure.