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User Guide on How to Prevent Sim Swapping

Prevent Sim Swapping
Written by Hassan Abbas

Prevent Sim Swapping: You can just keep your accounts safe with 2FA. However, When your SIM is compromised, you are not in control of your accounts. You shouldn’t look down on any information that talks about how to keep your SIM safe and secure. Also, its because your SIM card contains much information about you and your personal life. Nowadays SIM card fraud is one of the biggest scams faced by many folks around the world. Also, SIM swapping cheating is a significant threat due to a lot of activated two-factor authentication to their financial accounts using their SIM card. Thus, when a user gets to hold of the SIM card, they can instantly gain access and carry out transactions from the person’s account.

You can also secure every aspect of your mobile device. As it includes the apps, settings, menus. Etc. But your SIM card is at risk of attacks. However, it’s not like persons can remotely gain access to use your SIM card without your agreement. However, what they do is quite easy, they swap (exchange) your SIM card and receive any 2FA message or verification message needed to access any of your financial accounts or app.

Here in this article, we are going to share the symptoms of SIM exchanging and how you can secure your SIM from these bad guys. Also, Jack Dorsey (CEO at Twitter) can fall off a victim to SIM card swap fraud, then, anyone can be a victim. But you have to make sure you’re safe.

Signs and Symptoms to Prevent SIM Swapping

Unfortunately, there are no signs of SIM Swapping fraud. The only time you’ll notice this fraud is when you’ve already fallen victim to these bad guys. Mostly, people thought that they are the victim of this fraud when they make calls, and no number is connecting. Once your SIM swapped, you can’t make calls or send SMS any longer with that line. Automatically, your network provider blocks the connection and ports your number to another SIM.

When you can’t do the following, then there is a chance of your mobile SIM swapped.

Step 1:

Firstly, you will also receive that your current SIM is going to deactivate in a few minutes from your Mobile Operator.

Step 2:

Also, your SIM signal goes to emergency calls only for a long time, even if you are in the coverage area.

Step 3:

You can’t place calls or send text messages to any number.

Step 4:

When you frequently receive SMS alerts of activities, you never know about these messages and calls.

Step 5:

Or else you’re unable to login to your accounts using your mobile number

However, many companies and network providers are applying particular security measures. They do that just to ensure that a SIM card owner knows about everything happen with their network. Hopefully, very soon, with the powerful advent of diverse SIM card security technologies, SIM card swapping will be reduced.

Is the SIM card swapping that easy?

Huh, the SIM swap is not imagined to be a simple and easy task. However, the world is advancing, and different new technologies are making us more vulnerable while we think we’re getting safer. Also, many mobile network providers aren’t that careful and strict as per how they launch or process customer complaints. Some of these don’t bother to verify the authenticity of a customer’s claim.

However, the authentication tech used by most network operators is insecure and quite easy to operate. Thus, making it quite easier for smart phishers to instantly achieve their fraudulent passes and allow access to people’s important data. The reality is quite simple. SIM hijacking or SIM card swapping is possible, and you just want to place some precautionary measures to save yourself from the trauma. Just stay away for these activities and kindly don’t share a lot of information on social profiles.

What Steps are taken from Mobile Operators Side to Prevent SIM Swapping?

Mobile carriers are also taking some important steps to protect our accounts. They do the following precautionary measures to protect our phone number.

Step 1:

Firstly, they will alert you about the latest SIM activity and ensures that it is done by you.

Step 2:

Also, there will be no SMS service for 24 Hours on New SIM. So, if someone who took control of your SIM, can’t get the OTP of your Bank accounts.

Step 3:

You can also contact nearby Operator stores using your valuable ID and stop the SIM Swap. They will block the account.

Step 4:

Not just this but also you can contact customer care and elaborate on the situation. They can guide you through the whole process.

Step 5:

You can refer to the different Mobile operator’s customer care numbers of mobile operators below.

The US Mobile Operator Custom care Numbers

Indian Mobile Operator Custom care Numbers

  • Airtel: 121/ 198.
  • Vodafone: 111/ 198.
  • BSNL: 198.
  • JIO: 1-800-88-9999
  • Idea: 12345

How to stop and stay safe from SIM hijacking fraud and secure your accounts? (Android and iPhone)

If your mobile operators are doing their best to protect us then it is our responsibility to stay safe. Follow the below mention steps to secure your mobile number and respective accounts.

Don’t share your OTP or Send the SIM Swap messages

Firstly you don’t have to share your OTP with the person who is pretending as customer care. Also, Don’t send any Sim Swap format messages from your mobile to Custom care. Because some persons acting as customer care and ask you to “Your SIM is damaged”. However, they can replace your SIM card for free and door delivery to you. They will also tell you that you have to send a message with some SIM card number. Please don’t do this. If you send this message to the customer care, your current SIM card will block in a few minutes, and your number will swap to their SIM card.

2. Lock your SIM card with a PIN

Yes, you can also lock your SIM card with a unique PIN code. No one knows about it. Many carriers and network providers enable you to set up PIN codes to lock your SIM card. The whole process is quite different from setting up a security lock pattern, password, or PIN on your phone.

However, if you want to lock your SIM card using a PIN, you need to go to the SIM card settings. But make sure if your carrier doesn’t support SIM settings, then follow the guide below to set up IM card lock on Android or iPhone devices.

2.2 For Android Users

Head over to your Device settings >>> security >>> SIM card lock >>> activate. However, the process may quite differ from phone to phone. But if your device runs on Android 6.0 or later version, then move to the setting menu. Now tap on the “search” icon and input the keyword “SIM card lock,” this will lead to the settings, and you can activate.

2.3 iPhone Users

Move to Settings >>> Cellular >>> SIM PIN >>> Enable the toggle.

Note: you should input the default SIM card pin. Most carrier’s default PIN code is 1234 or 0000. So, input your carrier’s default PIN, firstly try 0000, then enter 1234. Once you enter the default pin, you can create a new PIN to lock your SIM card.

After setting a PIN to secure your SIM, any action on that SIM must need that PIN to be successful. Also, there’s no way a phisher can swap your SIM card when he doesn’t know your PIN. Make sure, keep this PIN confidential and don’t use common number combinations.

2.4 Default SIM PIN Numbers for various mobile carriers

When you set up a SIM PIN, you have to input the default number and change it to your password. Below there is a list of default SIM PIN for both US and Indian carriers. However, If you are in other regions, you can then contact your mobile operator to get the password.

2.4.1- US Mobile Operators SIM PIN
  • Verizon Wireless: Move to official Verizon my Account Page and then log in with your details. Under the Security category, adjust your PIN.
  • T-Mobile: Now Log in to My T-Mobile. Select the verification method- Text/Security questions and then follow the on-screen instructions carefully to set up the security questions. Once done, you can set up your PIN. Also, remember the PIN should be 6-15 characters with no sequential numbers like 1234.
  • Sprint: Sign in to Sprint.com. Choose My Sprint> Profile and Security >Security Information. You can also update the PIN or Security question here.
  • AT&T: Move to the official AT&T login Page and log in with your details. Choose Manage extra security under the Wireless passcode category from here set up your PIN.
2.4.2- Indian Mobile Operators SIM PIN

The following below- mentioned PINs are default values. You can also change these values into your PIN using the above methods.

  • Airtel- 1234.
  • Vodafone- 0000.
  • BSNL- 0000.
  • Reliance Jio- 0000/1234.
  • Idea- 1234.

3. Always be careful of the websites you open and links you tap on your mobile

These days, bad persons hack people’s emails with suspicious links that may look natural and unique and phish your information. Make sure mindful of the links you open and the websites you visit. This tip is not only for email messages, but it applies to the types of messages you receive on social media platforms.

4. Maybe you shouldn’t use your phone number for 2FA

There are other efficient options to manage 2FA without using your mobile number. Also, you can use mobile such as Microsoft Authenticator, Google Authenticator, and other 2FA apps available for iOS devices and Android.

5. Physical security tokens can help to Prevent Sim Swapping

You can also use physical systems as an additional verification method for mostly your banking accounts. However, it will help to keep you safe from falling a victim of fake 2FA codes sent by unknown people to mobile numbers. Just to compel the user to tap on a link. You can use your Android or iPhone as a physical security key.

6. Don’t use Wi-Fi Calling in Public Wi-Fi to Prevent Sim Swapping 

Also, some of the carriers have Wi-Fi calling feature. However, if you don’t have a mobile network, you can also make a call through the data connection. So, simply connect your mobile using a private secured network. When you are in a situation to use the Public data connection, use VPNs. There are many free unlimited VPNs are available in the Play Store.

Conclusion:

We use our mobile numbers like 2FA for extra safety. But, when our phone number is compromised, we can’t secure our accounts. So, it is our duty to take some steps to avoid SIM swapping. Don’t worry about these things. Nothing can happen without your action. So, when you receive calls and messages, just think about reality. Don’t install any third-party apps other than Play Store. I hope this guide “Prevent Sim Swapping” will help you to stay secure. If you feel I missed any necessary things in this guide then let us know in the comment section below!

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About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

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