The message below has been circulating on Whatsapp.
SIM SWAP FRAUD
Dear All, Please lets be very careful.. There is a new HIGH TECH FRAUD in town called the SIM SWAP FRAUD and hundreds of persons are already VICTIMS.
How it works
1 A new fraud called SIM SWAP has started. Your phone network will momentarily go blind / zero (No Signal / Zero Bars) and after a while a call will come through.
2 The Person on the other side will tell you that he is calling from ECONET, TELECEL, NETONE, POWERTL, AFRICOM ETC depending on your network and that there is a problem in your mobile network.
3 He will instruct you to Please press 1 on your phone to get the network back.
*Please at this stage don’t Press anything, Just cut the call.
If you press 1, the network will appear suddenly and almost immediately go blind again (Zero Bars) and by that action, your phone is #HACKED.
It is increasing day by day. Within a second they will empty your bank account and cause you enough damage.
What you will experience
It will appear as though your line is without Network, meanwhile your SIM has been SWAPPED.
The danger here is that, you will not get any alert of any transactions, so please those of us doing USSD Banking and Mobile Banking BEWARE. So please be careful.
Please forward to your contacts, loved ones and friends
Received from a Cybersecurity Group
Word travels fast on social media. Some of it is true and some of it is not so true. When you hear that someone can take over your sim you want to find out if this is true and stop it by all means necessary. So first things first….
How does sim swap happen?
It normally happens when fraudsters impersonating users successfully get a sim swap from mobile network providers. In some countries it is possible to call a network provider and request a sim swap over the phone. Here in Zimbabwe you need a copy of your id and to physically go to your service provider to get a sim card with the number you want, so it is a little bit trickier.
How do you lose your money?
Fraudsters may use your number to request for pin numbers and make bank transfers if they already have other banking information. Fraudsters may also ask loved ones to send money and now with mobile banking and Ecocash, if someone manages to get your pin somehow then that’s that.
So what is this high tech they are talking about?
Having not found any information on any high tech that allows you to call someone and once they press a button, get all their information I am forced to think none of this is true or maybe the initial sender of this message did not have all the details. I have no reason to believe that your sim can be hacked this way.
How to protect yourself
This particular scam may not be happening but sim swap fraud is possible. Here is what you can do:
If your sim card loses network while the other people around you have network then that is a serious cause for concern, visit your mobile network provider immediately and make sure no one has gotten a new sim in your name.
Do not just give out personal information or sim card details especially over the phone or on your email. Once a person has your internet banking details he can do so much more with your phone.
Share your story
Has anything of this sort happened to you? Share your story and let us build awareness.