What is SIM Swapping and how to prevent it?



sim swapping

SIM swapping is a common form of identity theft in which the attacker takes control of the victim’s phone number and SIM card. This gives them access to reset passwords for various services such as online banking or email accounts.

In 2022, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) fined the four major Spanish operators for not adequately protecting the personal data of their customers and for failing to apply the necessary mechanisms to verify the identity of the person requesting the SIM card.

What is SIM swapping?

SIM Swapping, or SIM swapping, is a form of identity theft in which a criminal can gain control of a phone number and SIM card. It’s a relatively simple process in which the attacker poses as another person and requests a new SIM card for their line from their mobile phone company. Usually, this is done using personal information obtained from an ID card, a bill, or any other document that reveals personal information.

Once this happens, the attacker will have all the information and can take any action as if they were the end user, from receiving calls and messages to resetting passwords. This means that anything that is protected with a phone number or SMS could be vulnerable to be hacked, including credit cards.

How does SIM Swapping work?

SIM swapping is a type of fraud that involves tricking a mobile phone provider into transferring the SIM card from one device to another. The scammer then uses this new device to access your account information, including passwords and bank details.

The most common way scammers carry out SIM swapping is by calling the operator and pretending to be the customer over the phone.

To be effective, these scammers need more information about the person they are impersonating, including their ID number, email address, home address, and phone number. This information can often be found on the internet, through a search engine or social media.

They may also use social engineering tactics such as phishing emails or text messages, or fraudulent applications that appear legitimate but actually contain fraudulent information or malicious codes.

A better way than SMS or human verification to request a duplicate.

It is essential that organizations not only rely on personnel for security, as there are currently many ways to commit fraud in the telco industry, making it easier to decipher a password or impersonate a victim’s identity.

Password-based authentication or security questions are becoming weaker due to the problem of social engineering and do not prevent human error.

Remote identity verification, based on both biometrics and document review, can help protect users by relying on physical characteristics rather than what a person can do or say. Currently, this technology facilitates remote identification, with a good number of security checks performed automatically in seconds. It can be as simple as requesting to open the mobile phone camera for facial identification and contrasting it with a real-time capture of the applicant’s ID. In this way, you ensure a more secure authentication than SMS with minimal friction, avoiding something as simple to impersonate as asking for customer data over the phone or sending a confirmation SMS.

Alice Biometrics offers remote identity verification services focused on solving the specific issues of the telecommunications sector. When a customer calls requesting a duplicate SIM due to theft of their mobile phone, identity verification is performed through facial recognition and a document scanner (ID card or passport) using a computer or tablet. It is the best option for companies to continue meeting their clients’ real needs quickly and easily while preventing identity theft, providing greater security for both the business and the end-customer.

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