Do you know that your SIM Card can be hijacked and owned by someone else? Your calls, text messages, and other services that require your SIM Card will then be accessed by the other person. This is known as SIM swapping.
Through this, many social media accounts have been hacked or compromised. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Twitter account was hacked when fraudsters gained control over his phone number and went on to tweet offensive messages. So how do you avoid this kind of scam? How do you prevent sim swapping? We’ll cover that in this guide. But first…
What is SIM Swapping?
This is when your SIM card and mobile identity is taken over by fraudsters with the purpose of manipulating your data for their gain. Normally, these fraudsters contact your network service provider to switch your phone number over to a SIM card they own. They do this so that they can easily complete the text-based two-factor authentication checks that protect your most sensitive accounts.
How to Know That Your Sim Has Been Swapped
- The most common indicator of a SIM Swap is if your SIM card is no longer active. When you completely lose service and can not send or receive calls or text messages.
- You may also receive a notification or text message saying that the SIM card for your number has been changed and that you should call customer care if you didn’t make the change.
Related Article: What is a SIM Card and How does it work?
How to Guard against Sim Swapping
- Use a PIN on your SIM card: Most mobile network service providers have an option for you to secure your SIM card with a PIN. Placing a layer of protection makes it hard for an attacker to compromise your SIM card.
- Opt for other Two-factor authentication methods: One danger of SIM swapping is that the attacker can now have access to all your accounts which enabled two-factor authentication by SMS. Opt for more secure methods like Google Authenticator.
- Guard your private details jealously: Posting personal information like your telephone number online just simplifies the work of attackers by offering some information needed to carry out a SIM swap. In countries like Uganda, you need a National Identification Number (NIN) in order to register your SIM card. In case you carelessly post your NIN online, you are just making work for attackers easy.
- Be deliberate about your online behavior: Attackers use phishing emails and other ways to try and access your personal data. Be careful what information you give out online and what links you click.
What If Your Sim Card Has Been Swapped?
- Find a way to contact your cellular service care immediately and follow the steps on how to re-gain your mobile number.
- Report the case to police so that they can start criminal investigations but also so that you prevent your self from any trouble assuming your number has been used to commit crimes.
- Check your online accounts, bank accounts, and other accounts for any unauthorized charges or unusual behavior. If you see any, report them too.
For most of us, our cell phones are our go-to devices for many things such as communication, paying bills, among others. Protecting your SIM card against swapping goes a long way in guarding your information. Follow our guide above to prevent any potential SIM swapping scams.