In an incident that seems to be straight out of Netflix’s Jamtara, a group of scammers, who probably are a part of the Jamtara scammers, duped a South Delhi-based businessman by accessing his accounts and stealing Rs 50 Lakhs in total. All of this was done through missed calls.
The duped businessman claims that for a couple of days, he was getting many missed calls from odd numbers on his primary number. When he finally started checking his phone, he received several messages showing that his bank account was used for several RTGS transactions that amounted to about Rs 50 Lakhs.
While registering an FIR with the IFSO or Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations unit of the Delhi Police, the businessman was adamant that he did not share any OTPs with anyone and that he merely received missed calls from multiple numbers around the same time. In their preliminary investigation, the police also found that the businessman did not receive any OTPs for the transitions carried out by the scammers.
So how exactly did the scammers get into the businessman’s accounts, and more importantly, where did the OTPs that enabled the scammers to complete the transactions go? Well, this is where SIM swapping comes into play.
What is SIM swapping?
In a SIM swapping or SIM jacking scam, a criminal steals your mobile phone number by assigning it to a new SIM card. The mobile carrier will most likely request some form of identity verification, such as the account PIN, security questions you set up, a copy of your Aadhar, or something like that. The hackers, believe it or not, already have this information. Remember the numerous times you have heard of data leaks from Facebook, Instagram, Google, or any other server? This is where the data ends up.
These scammers select their victims based on this list. Once the criminal has persuaded the mobile carrier’s customer service representative that they’re legit, they can reassign your phone number to their SIM. The criminal has essentially disconnected your phone number from your phone and assigned it to their SIM card, which they’ve popped into their device.
How to tell if you’re SIM has been swapped?
The first sign that your SIM has been swapped is usually a drastic change in the number of calls and SMSs you get or if your colleagues or friends regularly tell you that they tried calling you but couldn’t get through. Sometimes, when your number has been assigned to a new SIM, texting and calling may suddenly stop working.
When you connect your device to WiFi, you might start getting emails about account changes. Friends might tell you that your social media accounts have been hacked. Even worse, unauthorized bank activity could start happening. If you see more than one of these happening, and it occurs frequently, know there is a good possibility that you have been SIM swapped.
What to do if you have been SIM-swapped?
First and foremost, get in touch with your SIM provider, get them to deactivate all your SIMs, block all your afflicted numbers and then get a new SIM card with the old number. Then you approach your bank and see if there is any suspicious activity.
Furthermore, reset all your passwords; once you get the new SIM, reset the PIN for your mobile account. If possible, try to use different numbers for banking and finance-related activities and your online accounts like email and social media platforms.