Fraudsters swap SIM, swindle victims' money

By Nivedhika Krishnan Published on Jul 12, 2018 01:46 PM IST

Chennai: With technological advancement gaining momentum every passing day, the conventional text messaging is getting overpowered by other platforms such as WhatsApp and Messenger.

However, the outdated way of SMS can empower an individual to stop others from gaining access to his/her bank accounts.

Talking about an emerging new theft- SIM swap- that allows hackers to gain access to bank accounts, credit cards and other personal data, a senior official from the Cyber Crime Wing tells News Today: "It is tough to spot and undo the damage caused. But the theft can be stopped if people gain more awareness."

Explaining the modus operandi of fraudsters, he says, "Once the target is fixed, the culprit manages to get an identity card of the victim. As we all know, it is not a tough job to lay your hands on the ID card of another person. He then approaches a network dealer and produces the document to block the number, stating a mobile theft or other reasons."

The fraudster will purchase a duplicate SIM card of the same number from the dealer, says the Inspector, who also adds that in some cases the SIM card vendor and the fraudster are hand in glove.

"The mobile network will send a text message alerting the user about suspicious activity. If s/he is alert, s/he would rush to the nearest help desk of the network and flag the problem," he adds.

Unfortunately, a majority of people would ignore these text messages deeming them as spams.

"The usual process is that the network provider disconnects mobile signal when a number is blocked. Simultaneously, the duplicate SIM card will come to life," the Inspector says and adds: "Now the fraudster will divert all the One Time Passwords (OTPs) to the activated number and carry out net banking. He is left with the rest of the day before the innocent wakes up. He swindles complete savings from the account."

In majority of the cases, the victim realises the theft a day later and gets in touch with the respective bank authority about his/her grievance.

"Normally, most people would think that their network was down or poor signal," the Inspector states.

It would be too late when the issue is brought to the notice of the Cyber Crime Wing.