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Your Phone and the Danger of SIM Swapping

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You may have heard of the term “SIM” when it comes to mobile devices, but do you know what it means and the danger its theft could cause to you?

What's a SIM?

A SIM is a type of card that is inserted into a device, like a cell phone, and is used for identification on a communications network. It also stores other data, such as phone numbers or contact information. In short, it stores important personal information about you, and SIM cards are a valuable target for cybercriminals.

The Danger

With “SIM swapping,” a bad actor contacts your mobile service provider posing as you and tricks them into transferring your phone number to their device. This can reroute incoming texts and phone calls (which can be used to intercept your two-factor authentication codes), or even grant them access into some of your accounts without needing to log in. They can do a lot of damage before you even notice anything out of place, which is why it’s critical to secure your accounts and prevent the spread of your personal information online.

How They Do It

To pull off a SIM swap, cybercriminals use social engineering tactics (manipulating you) and open-source intelligence (such as information from your social media profiles) to find out as much about you as they can. They then use this information to convince your cell phone carrier that they’re you. SIM swapping can be particularly invasive and damaging because it reroutes your texts to the fraudster rather than to your own device.

Protect Yourself!

To help protect yourself from SIM swapping, many carriers (don’t hesitate to contact yours!) allow you to set a SIM PIN to protect your mobile account. Also, use higher privacy settings on your social media profiles, and look out for phishing attacks that ask for your personal information.

Lastly, opt-in for your mobile carrier to alert you of any changes to your account through two communication methods, like email and text, to help you stay aware of any changes made to your account. If you’re not sure how to do that, reach out to your carrier. The information might also be on their website.

Stay safe out there!