Shopping & Lifestyle

How to Stay Safe from SIM Swap Scams

Protect your sensitive data



Technological advances bring more ways to make our lives easier. With smartphones alone, almost everything we need is literally at our fingertips. All of our day-to-day activities are a few clicks away, whether we need to stream our favorite shows, look for easy access to information or conduct different transactions.


While these innovations are all worth celebrating, it also pays to acknowledge the downside of technology. 


As we continue to adapt to digital lifestyles, it's only natural that cybercrimes increase, too. Worldwide ransomware attacks cost an estimated amount of $6 trillion. If we want to continue protecting our accounts, we should remain vigilant. After all, fraudsters and criminals are getting more creative with their intricate schemes. One notorious crime that's recently been on the rise is the SIM swap scam.



What is a SIM Swap Scam? How Does It Work?

Fraudsters use the SIM swap scam to take over a mobile subscription. Since linking phone numbers to our accounts has become the norm, these criminals will do anything and everything to profit out of it. Here's how the whole thing works:


First, scammers approach their targets via phishing. Then, they send out fake emails and texts that mimic the legitimate establishments one regularly does business with, such as banks, credit providers and other important services. These seemingly authentic messages require the recipient to click a link or share their data. Once they get a hold of their target’s details, these cybercriminals are a step closer to making transactions under the victim’s name.


Despite getting a hold of sensitive information, swindlers can’t circumvent the one-time PIN (OTP) required by businesses, which might lead to more aggressive tactics. For example, a scammer may directly reach out to their target to ask for the OTP, while others may offer a SIM replacement. Once the victim agrees to either method, it's game over.


9 Tips to Ensure Your Security

Nonetheless, you can still stay safe from scams. Here are preventive measures you can take to protect yourself and your data:


1.  Ignore texts and emails that ask for sensitive information. Always remember that your service providers will never ask for personal data out of nowhere. If you find yourself a recipient of such messages, delete them immediately.


2.  Don't share any personal details online. Avoid sharing your personal information online. Cybercriminals can use your birthday, house address and even your pet's name to carry out elaborate scams.


3.  Use strong passwords. Avoid reusing passwords for multiple accounts. For a stronger password that’s hard to guess, include alphanumeric characters, uppercase and lowercase letters and symbols.


4.   Use multi-factor authentication as much as possible. It pays to have multiple lines of defense. Ideally, access to your sensitive accounts should require the use of an OTP, security questions and other authentication layers.


5.   Avoid taking screenshots of bills. If these screenshots fall into the wrong hands, your accounts might get compromised as they contain sensitive information. More importantly, avoid sending these screenshots digitally.


7.   Do not entertain any SIM replacement offers. If an individual suddenly offers a SIM replacement, politely decline and do not entertain them further. However, if they become too aggressive, report the issue to the authorities.


8.    Dispose of paper statements of account properly. Shred any bills and Statement of Accounts before throwing them in the trash. 


9.   Be wary of social engineering. This is another plan used by scammers to get a hold of your information. While it's okay to be friendly and polite to strangers, don’t entertain them for too long and don’t share personal details with someone you've just met.


Suspect That You've Been Targeted? Here's What You Should Do

If you think cybercriminals have targeted you with the SIM swap scam, do the following:


1.   Get in touch with your service provider. For postpaid subscribers, you may access your account online and request temporary disconnection. Meanwhile, prepaid subscribers should visit the nearest store of their service carrier for further assistance.


2.   Update the log-in credentials of sensitive accounts. This will protect you from unauthorized log-ins. Sensitive accounts include those linked to your bank and credit card provider.


3.   Review your transaction history. This is to gauge which of your accounts have been breached.


4.    Report any compromised accounts ASAP. Let your bank know about the incident. If possible, report the incident to the local authorities too.


5.   Recover your mobile number. Visit your service carrier's nearest branch to request a SIM replacement.


Towards A Scam-Free Use of Technology



Technology has become an important part of our lives. But while cybercriminals may be searching for new ways to steal data, it pays to know that such schemes can be easily avoided. So keep in mind the ways and means to continuously technology while steering clear of fraud. With help from these tips, it should be easier for you to stay safe from SIM swap scams and other plots to steal data.


Download the New GlobeOne app to protect yourself further. Manage your Globe subscription with ease and ensure your safety online!



Art Matthew Fetalver

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