OPP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre say “SIM swapping” is when criminals steal your personal information from a cellphone to access your bank account, social media and email.
From there, fraudsters have direct access to your contacts, calendar and money, and they may empty your bank account, apply for credit, or impersonate you to defraud your entire contact list. In the meantime, you lose access to your cellphone, and are often locked out of all your contacts.
Police say this gets started when a “fraudster” impersonates you and calls the mobile service provider to report a lost or stolen phone. Your phone number will be linked to a new SIM and device that the fraudster controls.
The fraudster then downloads a series of the most popular and most attractive apps. They will select the ‘Forgot Password’ button on all apps. If the account is associated to your phone number or email address, the fraudster will receive a verification code. They will use this code to confirm ownership of the account, create their own password and take over your accounts.
The OPP say there are ways you can protect yourself, such as:
*Keep all personal information personal. It is as simple as not publishing a date of birth on social media
*Do not answer phishing emails or text messages asking to confirm a password or update account information
*Use an offline password manager
*Contact a phone provider and ask about additional security measures that may be available
*If you lose mobile service on your device, contact a service provider immediately
Police say go with your gut. If a message seems fishy it probably is.