Smartphones are now in almost everyone’s pockets. We use them to entertain ourselves, send messages, save notes, take photographs, transfer money, and even make phone calls. Our phones have become indispensable companions. Considering that a person’s phone number is now an important part of their digital footprint, a phone risk assessment can help reduce fraud drastically.
The Internet Complaint Center received 1611 SIM swapping complaints in 2021, resulting in adjusted losses exceeding $68 million.
So What is the method fraudsters use to bypass 2FA and registration with phone numbers? In the past, phone numbers were harder to obtain and harder to create (acquired on darknet marketplaces) but now they have plenty of choices.
SIM hijacking is an example where a fraudster asks a mobile carrier to switch a number to another SIM card they control. This allows them to access all online accounts tied to the phone number and SMS messages received by that number. By inserting the new SIM into a different phone, they can access your other accounts and cause real harm. Any two-factor authentication that goes to your phone via text message can be controlled by resetting account passwords. It is possible for them to access a multitude of accounts, email, digital payment systems, social media, and shopping, among other things.
The majority of people are deeply concerned about their bank account and social security number being compromised but are less concerned about their name, email address, and birth date. However, when combined, this information is exactly what is risky for account security for things like bank accounts, medical records, and mobile carriers.
SIM hijack Signs and Symptoms
There are several warning signs that indicate a SIM hijack. By being aware of the steps below, you can stop fraudsters from accessing your phone data quickly and prevent further damage from being done.
Here are four key signs that indicate you are a victim of a possible SIM swap or hijack:
You are unable to place calls or send texts
Your phone calls and text messages not connecting is the first indication that you might be a victim of SIM swapping. This suggests that scammers have deactivated your SIM card and are using it in conjunction with your phone number.
A notification of activity on another device
If your phone provider alerts you that your SIM card or phone number has been activated on another device, you are likely a victim.
Your accounts are inaccessible
If your login information for accounts like your bank and credit card accounts is no longer valid, scammers have probably changed your passwords and username. Make sure to inform your bank and other organizations right away.
You discover transactions that you aren’t aware of making
A SIM swap scam may have taken place if you check your online credit card statement and discover several transactions that you do not recall making. This is an indication that someone else has used your credit card number to make an unauthorized purchase. It’s possible that they accessed your account by first stealing your phone number and using the data sent to it.
Ways to Prevent a SIM hijack
Here are three tips to prevent your device and personal data from being compromised by SIM swapping:
1. Configuring 2FA
here are ways to make onboarding frictionless without requiring a 2FA OTP. Using P2A codes like virtual mobile numbers and toll-free shortcodes, seamless phone authentication is possible. Frictionless two-factor authentication through QR codes reduces OTP processing time and human errors.
2. Be wary of phishing attempts
Phishing is a technique employed by cybercriminals to gather sensitive personal data which they can use to pass as you or access your financial accounts. Phishing emails, texts, and phone calls frequently use excitement, fear, or urgency to persuade victims to divulge sensitive information like passwords, PINs, social security numbers, and birthdays. Even if the sender appears to be a familiar face, there may be typos in the sender’s name, logo, or other parts of the message that should serve as a strong indication that you should delete the message right away. Links in suspicious messages should never be clicked.
3. Avoid Autofills
Your web browser probably prompts you to confirm whether you want the websites you visit to remember your password. Always refuse! Do not use autofill as a shortcut, even though following password best practices can make it challenging to remember all of your different, lengthy, and complex passwords.
Your security measures aren’t enough to prevent hackers from constantly developing new ways to get around them. If you use TruSense’s security solutions such as TruScore, TruAuth and TruIDV, you can reduce the chances of an Account Takeover (ATO) fraud and transact securely.