All banking applications are linked to phone numbers, which help in generating OTPs (to authenticate transactions) or receiving important bank-related messages.
In the SIM swap scam, fraudsters first take personal details such as phone numbers, bank account details, and addresses with the help of phishing or vishing.
After receiving the personal information, fraudsters visit the mobile operator’s retail outlet, posing as the victim with forged ID proof, and report a fake theft of the victim’s SIM card and/or mobile phone.
By doing this, they attain a duplicate SIM.
Notably, scamsters can get a duplicate SIM even when the original is working, as they reported a theft of the original SIM card.
Unlike other scams, where scamsters trick people into giving OTPs and private information on a phone call, the SIM swap scam doesn’t require direct communication with the victims.
However, fraudsters do give missed calls to their victims so that the latter leave their phones and ignore the lost network connectivity.
When the SIM is swapped, the accused gains control of the entire SIM. All calls and messages go through their SIM only.
Once in control of the SIM card, they are able to obtain passwords and OTPs that allow them to access their targets’ bank accounts.