What is SIM Swapping, and How Can You Keep Yourself Safe?

Jorge Felix  - Cybersecurity Expert
Last updated: November 7, 2023
Read time: 9 minutes

SIM swap is a method of identity theft that can do a lot of harm to its victims. This article tells you all about them and how to prevent them.

SIM swap fraud and attacks occur when a scammer exploits two-factor verification and authentication and uses your mobile number to access accounts.

Two-factor authentication systems have a drawback that enables scammers to implement an attack known as SIM swap. Thus, they can get access to your accounts using your phone number.

A SIM swap starts when a crook persuades your mobile phone’s service provider to activate a SIM card in their possession. As soon as the carrier gives in, the fraudster owns your phone number, and every call or SMS will reach him instead of you. That’s a SIM swap fraud.

In the current digital context, a SIM swapping means that the bad guys could log in to your bank account through its website, for instance. So the bank sends a code by text using two-factor authentication to ensure security. But the code reaches the scammer, not you. That’s why they performed the SIM swap in the first place. So now the fraudster has your bank account in his power.

As you can imagine, this type of attack can be very harmful. But you don’t need to lose any sleep over this. Protection against SIM swapping is possible and rather simple. The secret is to ensure that potential scammers will never know the logins and passwords you use in your online accounts, especially the most sensitive ones, like your bank’s. And it also helps if you know how to read the writing on the wall so that you can identify the most likely signs of a SIM swap in progress.

What is a SIM card?