Know the story of SIM Swap type of fraud in India

The simple meaning of the word swap is exchanging one thing for another.

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CA Mayur Joshi
CA Mayur Joshi
CA Mayur Joshi is a Forensic Accounting evangelist in India. He is the co-founder of Indiaforensic and is author of 7 books on forensic accounting, fraud investigations and money laundering.

As the telecom sector evolved in India, services related to telephone became accessible over the phone. Better technology demanded better infrastructure and swapping of the SIM card became necessity. Your 3G SIM was swapped for a 4G SIM from the service provider. This is what an authentic SIM swap is.

Customer requests service provider to deactivate old SIM and give a new SIM, which activates within a few hours. Mobile phones are loaded with information, right from the contact lists, photos, emails, and Short Message Services (SMSS) to financial details such as Automated Teller Machine (ATM) withdrawals alerts and one time passwords (OTPs) sent by banks for net banking transactions.

How does SIM Swap Fraud Work ?

Fraudsters use SIM swap technique to steal your financial details by blocking your SIM card and exchanging it with a fake one. They do this through your service provider. They get a brand new SIM card for your registered mobile number from your service provider. This means once the SIM is swapped they get access to your OTPS, financial accounts and card related alerts, which they use to commit the fraud.

There are two steps to this fraud, Net banking fraud and SIM Swap.

Netbanking Frauds

Fraudsters send you a harmless looking Trojan or malware and get access to your basic bank account basic details and your mobile number. Then they call you and pose as you service provider agents and ask for your details.”

Moreover, many unsuspecting victims easily give away the details without a second thought. The fraudsters approach the service provider (posing as you, with fake papers), request to swap the SIM. After verification, the service provider deactivates the old SIM, which is in your mobile. The fraudsters get a new active mobile SIM card. And, then your SIM card has no network.

Then all your financial SMS’s, OTP alerts, and other financial alerts or transactions confirmations arrive on new active card and it falls into the hands of fraudsters.

Imagine the number of financial agents out there who have your KYC documents and mobile number.

“This is a two-step fraud where the fraudsters first get your bank details through phishing emails or malware or Trojans and then they block your SIM through the SIM swap technique.

By the time your SIM shows no service, and you find out from the service provider that there was a SIM swap request and you visit the branch with KYC to figure out what’s the real issue, the fraudster has stolen your money from your bank account.

What you should know ?

Phishing is a kind of e-mail fraud technique in which the fraudster sends out genuine-looking emails or website links. It is an attempt to gather your personal and financial information.

As far as step two goes, don’t give away your details to anyone whatsoever. If you see no service on your SIM, contact the service provider at the earliest. If your SIM has been deactivating at midnight, you can’t do much about it really.

Like it or not, there’s nothing much you can do from your side, apart from being more vigilant.

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