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SIM Swapping Attacks and How to Protect Yourself from It?

Written by Anuraag Singh ~ Modified: 14-02-2023 ~ Cyber Awareness ~ 6 Minutes Reading

Phone number is a crucial piece of your identity that connects your name to your internet accounts and enables calls and texts from friends, family, and coworkers. However, imagine what would happen if someone had all your information by stealing your phone number. 

Yes, it sounds scary.

But the truth is, cybercriminals steal thousands of people’s phone numbers every day. It is known as SIM swapping. 

So, let’s understand what SIM swapping scam is all about.

What is SIM Swapping?

SIM swapping is a type of identity theft where a cybercriminal persuades a cell phone provider to change a victim’s phone number so that the attacker can access the victim’s sensitive information such as bank accounts, credit card numbers, etc.

In this attack, the threat actor impersonates the customer and requests that the number be ported to a new device for some reason. They provide personal information that was gained by phishing attacks and data breaches in order to convince the mobile carrier that they are the customer.

This type of cyber attack is also becoming a concern for users. For example:- Threat actors performed a SIM swapping attack on Google Fi (telecommunications and mobile internet service by Google) customers. And one of them reported that cybercriminals gained access to their Authy MFA account. 

How Does a SIM Swapping Attacks work?

Previously, we discussed the meaning of SIM swapping. Now let’s understand how attackers carry out the same

  • First, the cybercriminal pretends to be you and calls your mobile provider, complaining that their SIM card—which is actually yours—has been misplaced or damaged. 
  • After that, they request that the customer support agent activate a fresh SIM card that is in the fraudster’s possession. This transfers your phone number to the criminal’s gadget, which has the con artist’s own SIM card. When your carrier fulfills this request, all incoming calls and texts intended for you will reach the con artist’s cellphone.
  • Then, you may receive an email from a scammer posing as your smartphone provider. You might be instructed to click a link in this email in order to maintain the status of your account. When you do, a new page opens and requests your name, birthdate, and password. The page can even request your Social Security number. once you complete this form click “send” you become the victim of SIM swapping scam. 
  • Some cybercriminals may compel you to click on email links that install malware on your computer and record every keystroke you make, including any passwords or security question answers. Once again, this gives the scammers the knowledge they need to pull off a successful SIM switch.
  • On the other hand, the dark web is a place where fraudsters may purchase your financial and personal information. By doing this, these fraudsters would also have the knowledge necessary to carry out their scheme successfully.

sim swapping

[Image Source: snbonline]

The Attacker’s Next Move 

Scammers use the information they obtained from you or the dark web to contact your smartphone carrier and request that they change your number to a new SIM card.

  • Once these attackers have your phone number under their control, they can access all of your communications with banks and other businesses through the phone, including text messages. whereas, fraudsters receive all the texts and calls which are made to reset the password of your accounts. 

You may now be wondering how we will get to know that we have been the victim of SIM swapping. Are there any indications? Let’s find out.

How Do You Get to Know That Your SIM is Swapped?

There are several indicators that can tell you whether you are a victim of SIM Swapping scam or not. The following are additional crucial indications that you might be a victim of SIM swapping.

  1. You aren’t able to send or receive any calls or texts:- The device to which your phone number was previously connected goes inactive once it has been used elsewhere.
  2. You’re notified of activity elsewhere:- If your phone provider informs you that another device has activated your SIM card or phone number, you are a victim.
  3. You find transactions you aren’t aware of:- When reviewing your online credit card statement if you find multiple transactions that you don’t recognize, you may have fallen victim to a SIM swap fraud. If fraudsters got your credit card information then they will you used it to make illicte purchases. They might have done this by obtaining your phone number first, then utilising the data provided to it to access your account.

How to Avoid SIM Swapping?

SIM swapping is one of the most serious threats currently out there. Thus, it’s critical to learn how to defend yourself against it to avoid becoming a victim. So, let’s move on to some tips that will help you.

  1. If you are unable to connect to the network and are not getting calls or SMS messages for a disproportionately long time, contact your cell operator.
  2. Be sure to pay attention to alerts from your network operator that indicate a possible SIM-Swap. Do not forget to respond to such emails promptly. 
  3. If you frequently receive calls from unfamiliar numbers, don’t turn off your smartphone.It might be an attempt to convince you to turn off your phone so you won’t notice a manipulated network connection.
  4. Sign up for real-time email and SMS alerts that notify you of any action in your bank account.
  5. Keep an eye out for anomalies on your bank statements.


As we all know, SIM swapping can be a dangerous threat to anyone, so take the necessary precautions. I hope that after reading this article, you have a thorough understanding of SIM swapping.

If you want to stay updated with the latest cyberattack trends and want to avoid it at the same time then contact India’s best cyber expert Anuraag Singh now. Since he has more than 15 years of experience in the field of cyber security, he would help you how to defend yourself from such cyber scams.