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Sim Swapa

What is SIM swapping?

Sim Swaps are when criminals fraudulently gain access to phones and asks the provider to transfer numbers to a different sim card – THEIRS!

They will of course need some basic personal information about you such as your full name, address, postcode and probably date of birth, but with this data quite easily available for the determined criminal, then once they’ve swapped your sim they’ll have access to all your online accounts and in particular your bank accounts!

Here are some excellent tips on how to prevent a Sim Swap written by Haroun Adamu for the Android Police website…

How to prevent SIM swapping

  1. Protect your phone and SIM
    Most phones ship with some form of protection method, including PINs, passwords, patterns, fingerprint scanning, and facial recognition. The latter two are quite common in modern devices, so enable them to add another layer of security.

Aside from your phone, you should also protect your physical SIM. You can lock it with a numerical PIN that you must enter every time you restart your device. Your Android device or iPhone should allow you to create a PIN in Settings. Just make sure you don’t use your birthday or that of someone important to you.

  1. Lock your phone number with your service provider
    Many network service providers offer Port Freeze or Number Lock to protect your mobile number from unauthorized transfer. Once activated, your number cannot be ported to another line or carrier unless you remove the lock, either with a PIN or by walking into the store. If your carrier allows this feature, it’s an excellent way to beef up your SIM protection.
  1. Use strong passwords and security questions
    If you still use your birthday or middle name as a password, it’s time to stop. You need to come up with a strong password that is nearly impossible to guess — something with at least 12 characters, including different letter cases, numbers, or special symbols. It’s also good practice to use different passwords for different accounts so that a breach of one doesn’t become a breach to all.

But how do you remember so many passwords? You don’t. Instead, take advantage of password managers to store them. Aside from strengthening your passwords, you should also try to select identity questions that even close acquaintances would struggle to guess.

  1. Turn on two-factor identification
    2FA is another way to quickly add an extra layer of security to your accounts. Log into platforms that enable 2FA, such as Google, turn it on, and that’s it. You can even make it more secure by eliminating the risk associated with SMS-based authentications. Use 2FA applications like Google Authenticator or Authy whenever possible.
  1. Enable biometric authentication on your device
    Passwords, PINs, and 2FAs are great. But face and touch ID offer a level of protection that exceeds those simply because they require your physical presence to work.

Whenever possible, use mobile apps and services that support two-factor biometrics. That way, even if thieves get their hands on your phone number, they won’t be able to bypass the biometric barrier.

  1. Limit how much personal information you share online
    Fraudsters can take advantage of even the most minute details to convince your carrier that they are you. So avoid posting your full name, address, phone number, and date of birth on public platforms. Also, resist the urge to overshare details of your personal life like your pet’s name, best friend’s location, favorite food, etc., on social media. You may have included them in some online security questions to verify your identity.
  1. Be wary of phishing emails, texts, and calls
    Phishing is almost as old as the internet. It’s a social engineering attack often used to steal login credentials, credit card numbers, and other user data. Phishing usually involves criminals trying to impersonate reputable institutions, such as banks, government institutions, and health services, assuming that you won’t hesitate to answer their questions or scrutinize their emails because you trust these organizations.

However, note that your bank, the government, or any reputable health service providers will never ask for your personal information online. If you receive such calls or messages, hang up or delete them even if they seem to be legit. You can always contact the agency to confirm the outreach.

Make a note of these seven tips and try to implement as many as possible to reduce the chances of your SIM card being swapped.

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