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Have you ever experienced losing mobile service or control over your online accounts? If so, you might have fallen victim to a SIM swap scam. 

Little information is needed to execute this type of attack, and criminals tend to focus on uninformed individuals. In 2021, an estimated $68 million was lost due to SIM swap scams. Banks are paying a hefty price for this kind of attack, but the security of telcos also plays a crucial role. Therefore, it’s pertinent for them to help address this method of cybercrime.

What is a SIM Swap Scam?

A SIM swap is a form of fraud or identity theft where the victim’s mobile phone number is stolen and assigned to a new SIM card. Attackers employ this to gain access to an individual’s linked digital accounts, such as bank accounts, through one-time passcodes and a uniform resource name to steal valuable assets or gain more information about the victim.

How Telcos Can Prevent SIM Swaps Scams

A SIM swap scam is relatively easy to carry out. Several telcos are working diligently to formulate action plans to prevent fraud through SIM swap scams by employing the following methods:

1.) Raise awareness on how SIM swap scams work

SIM swap scams start when a cybercriminal acquires a customer’s details such as their name, address, contact number, email, and password. 

Once the criminal acquires the sensitive information, they contact mobile carriers and impersonate the individual to report that the phone or SIM card was lost, sold, or destroyed, allowing them to request reassignment of a phone number to a new SIM.

When the reassignment of a phone number is complete, criminals can start resetting account passwords and getting through SMS-based two-factor authentication security, giving them access to linked credit cards, e-wallets, and other accounts.

Telcos should actively inform and educate their customers of the telltale signs of a compromised account so they can report their suspicions immediately to their telecom provider and prevent SIM swap fraud.

2.) Use a password manager

Internet browsers often ask if an individual wants to “remember password” on specific sites. Storing personal passwords on browsers is highly discouraged. 

While this is more convenient, especially for long, unique, and complex passwords, setting up autofill on browsers is not secure. Instead, consider entrusting passwords and codes with a secure password manager. It acts as a vault for more secure login processes.

3.) Integrate biometric authentication

Biometric authentication identifies individuals based on their unique biological characteristics, like fingerprints and facial features. A biometric device collects and stores users’ data, including their signature, job role, and unique biometrics. Once registered, the device will read a biometric signature and compare it to a stored version.

The system can also grant or deny access to specific data or resources based on a job role. Using biometric authentication can move your entire workforce to an improved cybersecurity posture, with biometrics as part of your multi-factor authentication flow. 

Telcos can utilize Q5id’s multi-factor authentication solutions to re-establish and strengthen their security measures, significantly helping their efforts in preventing scams like SIM swapping.

4.) Avoid sharing personal information

It has become easier for criminals to acquire sensitive information by monitoring social media. While SIM swapping is considered low-cost and non-technical, with unchanged tactics, many people still fall victim to this scam.

Telcos should remind their customers not to overshare information like screenshots of bills, birth dates, names of children or relatives, and first pets. Revealing this information makes customers highly vulnerable to fraud because most banks ask these as part of their security questions.

5.) Stay alert for phishing schemes

Phishing refers to “fishing” for sensitive personal information that can be used to impersonate an individual and gain access to their financial accounts. These phishing attempts can take several forms, such as emails, texts, and phone calls.

Criminals prey on urgency, fear, and excitement to fool people into giving up valuable details like card verification value (CVV), birthdays, PINs, and passwords.

Customers who receive unsolicited messages should avoid responding and confirm with their respective telecom provider. This may be an attempt of attackers to acquire information to pose as a customer and fool certain establishments.

Practicing Prevention

Incidents of unauthorized SIM swaps will affect both the telcos’ and the banks’ customers, resulting in the erosion of public trust and confidence, financial losses, and intensified scrutiny from regulators. While some view a SIM swap scam as an easily preventable cyberattack, this fraudulent practice continues to victimize people and cause significant financial damage.

Having security measures in place reduces the risk of falling victim to fraud. Telcos should consider implementing the above suggestions to ensure their loyal patrons’ safety and security.

If you’re looking to prevent cyber crimes like SIM swap scams, contact Q5id today. We aim to help organizations solve the complex challenges that involve identity theft and fraud through our proven identity management solutions.

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