Kaya 959 Reporter
SIM-swap fraud continues to grow. Fraudsters poses as the legitimate cellphone accountholder (by using fake identity documents).
They request a SIM-swap from the real cellphone accountholder’s mobile network provider so that they can have access to their account and number on a different device.
Some international reports show close to 100 percent year-on-year growth, and South Africa is seeing the same trend.
“There’s another side of the coin where it’s fraudulent behavior, you have fraudsters who are looking into intercepting you phone communication, to gain access to your personal information or your banking profile.”
“It’s taking over legitimate person’s account by using their mobile number.”
Tips on how to avoid falling victim to these scams
It’s important to recognise warning signs. Here are tips to help you avoid getting scammed:
- Check for mobile network signal loss on your cellphone. This may indicate that you have been the victim of a SIM-swap or number-porting scam.
- If you lose signal permanently, contact your mobile network operator immediately. The first sign that you could be a victim of a SIM-swap scam is when your phone calls and text messages aren’t going through.
- Activate international cellphone roaming when travelling.
- Always let your bank know when you’re travelling abroad.
- Don’t click on unknown links.
- Always install the latest security updates on all your devices.
- Don’t respond to competition SMSs or MMSs.
- If you receive a phone call from someone asking for personal or confidential information, don’t respond, and end the call.
- If you can’t access your accounts (your bank and credit card accounts) because your login details no longer work, fraudsters may have struck already. Contact your bank immediately.
- You’ll know you’re a victim when your network provider tells you that your SIM card or phone number has been activated on another device.
Naicker says SMS OTPs are not secure and fraudsters know this.
“We have seen dramatic results at companies where we have helped them remove SMS OTPs as part of their authentication offering. We should remember that the industry rolled out SMS OTPs when we realised that username and passwords were not sufficient. But now we know that SMS OTP should not be used for anything tied to personal or financial information. It’s simply not strong enough,”
Consumers are urged to be vigilant this festive season.