We’ve all heard about sim swapping, SIM splitting, simjacking or sim hijacking- the recent trend with cybercriminals and now a study by Princeton University prooves the vulnerability of wireless carriers and how these SIM swapping has helped hackers ease their hands into frauds and crimes.

SIM swapping gained quite an attention when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account was hacked on his own platform. A study by Princeton University has revealed that five major US wireless carriers – AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Tracfone, and US Mobile – are susceptible to SIM swap scams. And this sim hijacking is on a rise in developing countries like Africa and Latin America.

What is SIM swapping? 

SIM swapping is when your account is taken over by someone else by fraud through phone-based authentication usually two-factor authentication or two-step verification. This could give the hacker access to your email, bank accounts, online wallets and more.

How does the swap occur? 

In a SIM swap, scammers exploit the second step in two-factor verification, where either a text message or a call is given to your number for verification.

Citywire further explains the process, “Usually, a basic SIM-card swapping work when scammers call a mobile carrier, impersonating the actual owner and claiming to have lost or damaged their SIM card. They then try to convince the customer service representative to activate a new SIM card in the fraudster’s possession. This enables the fraudsters to port the victim’s telephone number to the fraudster’s device containing a different SIM.”

After accessing the account, the scammers can control your email, bank accounts, online wallets and more.

 Detecting SIM swapping attack

• The first sign is if your text messages and cell phones aren’t functioning, it’s probable that your account is hijacked.

• If the login credentials set by you stop working then it’s probably a sign that your account has been taken over. Contact your telecom provider and bank immediately.

• If you get a message from your telecom provider that your SIM card has been activated on another device, be warned it’s a red sign.



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