Dangerous New SCAM Spreading – FBI Getting Involved
(ConservativeInsider.org) – With new technology comes a whole realm of new ways hackers and criminals can access people’s personal information. While there are steps to protect yourself from identity theft, it can happen to even the most safety-conscious person. Now, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned that thieves are stealing money by a new tactic: Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) swapping.
What is SIM Swapping?
Most cell phone numbers are attached to SIM cards, giving the phone user a unique identity code. This allows them to receive all calls, texts, and notifications for their specific phone number. However, criminals are now using phishing techniques to hack mobile carriers and swap SIM cards from a distance.
This means that criminals, once they have stolen a SIM card, begin receiving the victim’s texts and calls. With this, they can hack into bank accounts, social media platforms, and other personal accounts using links to reset passwords and such. This new scam works even if two-factor authentication is set up with text or email because the hacker likely gained access to that by stealing the SIM.
FBI Warns SIM Swapping is On the Rise
On February 8, the FBI announced that between January 2018 and December 2020, Americans reported 320 of these SIM swapping incidents where hackers stole around $12 million. However, in 2021, the FBI’s Crime Complaint Center received 1,611 complaints of the same type of crime, adding up to over $68 million in losses.
This report clearly shows a major uptick in this crime, making it all the more important for Americans to take steps to protect themselves and their SIM cards.
How to Keep Your SIM Safe
To begin, it’s important to keep personal information offline, including phone numbers, addresses, and bank accounts. The FBI also asks people not to advertise information about their financial assets or cryptocurrency, as this can lead hackers right to your doorstep. In addition, try and set up two-factor authentication using a fingerprint or facial recognition rather than email or text codes. Lastly, do not store usernames or passwords anywhere on your mobile device where a hacker could access them.
Always be wary of emails and texts sent to you. Verify phone numbers and addresses directly with a company if they reach out to you for information, and always authenticate information yourself rather than trusting the internet. While there’s no way to be 100% sure a hacker cannot access your information if you’re online, these recommendations will certainly help to keep the latest hacking schemes from reaching your bank account.
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