A lazy man works the smartest, some will say. And if you see the lengths that criminals go just to get to your hard-earned money, you’d be inclined to agree. After all, there have been some pretty interesting schemes that people have cooked up over the years, just for the sake of stealing. Which is why now we have all these fancy new security measures to prevent theft, like TAC codes tied to our phone numbers.
But what if thieves can now bypass those measures entirely without you even noticing it?
Yup, apparently now they can. According to The Star, a new type of fraud technique, called SIM swap, is now being used by criminals to access your bank information.
This can be easily done, because as you now know, many companies such as banks and social media platforms offer the use of your phone number as a way of identification by sending you encrypted codes. But if those codes were intercepted, it’s pretty easy to gain complete access to your information.
The scary thing is that apparently, there’s nothing you can do to stop these incidents from happening. Only the telco carrier can stop your phone number from being cloned.
So how do these frauds take place? Well, all the criminal has to do is figure out personal information about you, which can be illegally bought from the Dark Web or obtained through what you post on your social media, before working from there. They tend pretend to be you and contact telco carriers, asking to either obtain a new SIM card or to switch to a different telco carrier.
Once the telco carrier transfers your number to a phone that the criminal owns, then all TAC codes and encrypted codes sent to your phone will be immediately intercepted by these criminals as well, allowing them to access sensitive information such as your bank account and social media accounts.
Sometimes even telco companies don’t realise that these frauds are happening and when customers call in, they have to educate them about how these frauds are happening, according to security expert Bob Sullivan, host of the So, Bob technology podcast.
“The real problem is when you call, are you going to get a person that you can talk to about this quickly and are they going to recognise what’s happening?” he says before adding “Or are you going to be in voicemail hell for three hours while a criminal raids all your accounts?”
So how can you reduce the chances of being exposed to this huge security risk?
Well, it’s probably helpful to go call up your phone company to secure your account with a personal identification number, so that strangers can’t just phone in and request for any changes to be made without it.
Then, try and find other ways of authenticating your accounts instead of just using the usual TAC codes sent to your phone. But better options would be to get the codes through a phone call instead of a text.
But if you suspect that you already have been a victim of SIM card fraud if you can no longer receive or send texts messages, The Star advises that you immediately contact your telco carrier and report the issue, before calling your bank and changing all your passwords and identification information in person. Then of course, file a police report as well.
We hope that this helps all of you out there to keep a closer eye on your personal information, so you don’t fall victim to these frauds! Remember, always stay vigilant and be careful!
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