Recently, the Delhi Police issued a high alert warning on the rising scams in SIM Swapping. Considered as the most commonly reported scams across India, awareness on this fraud is still largely unknown and notably many are falling for it and eventually losing lakhs of rupees saved in bank accounts.
The Cybercrime Division of Delhi Police on its Twitter handle warned, “Next time you get a call and the caller asks you to upgrade your SIM to 4G e-SIM, just hang up the phone and report the number on Cybercrime Reporting Portal: http://cybercrime.gov.in.”
How is this scam executed?
This scam is all about getting the 20-digit SIM card. Every SIM card has a unique number printed on it. This is found at the back of your SIM card. The scammers simply call you and try to convince you to share your 20-digit unique number.
The person on the other end of the call will tell you that he is calling from your mobile service provider like Airtel, Jio, or Vodafone Idea, and inform you that there is a problem in your mobile network. The fraudster will instruct you to press digit 1, on your phone to get the network back.
Or in another way, to initiate the SIM exchange request, a person posing as a Customer Service Officer from a particular mobile service provider will call you to inform you that there is a problem with your current SIM or it needs an upgrade. The person may also SMS you a 20-digit SIM card number which will be under his/her possession and not yours.
The fraudster will ask you to forward the number to the mobile service provider and will instruct you to reply ‘1’ to the confirmation SMS, sent by them. The fraudster will also inform you that it will take 24 hours to get the new SIM and during this period, your existing SIM will remain deactivated. However, once the confirmation is provided i.e. you reply ‘1’, your existing SIM card will get deactivated and the new SIM card, with your mobile number, which is with the fraudster will get activated.
Using your mobile number, the fraudster can access One-Time Passwords (OTPs) and Unique Registration Numbers (URNs) for all your bank accounts linked with your mobile number and may do fraudulent transactions. You will not be aware of these transactions, as the SIM in your possession is deactivated and you will not get any information from the bank.
How do these fraudsters operate?
Fraudsters obtain bank account details and your registered mobile number.
They create a fake identity and approach mobile service providers.
They get a new SIM from the mobile service provider.
The fraudsters intercept your notifications and OTPs to do account transactions .
How to prevent this fraud and how to stay protected?
- Never reveal your personal and bank account details.
- Remember that bank representatives will never ask for personal bank details.
- Check with your mobile operator, if you face any uncertain functioning of your phone.
- Do not share SMS alerts (such as OTP) with anyone.
- Keep a regular track of your bank statements to monitor your transaction.
- Register for instant alerts that inform you of any activity regarding your account.
- Do not respond to communication asking you to block your SIM.