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FBI warns public of growing threat of ‘SIM swaps’


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The FBI is warning about a rise in hackers targeting mobile carriers to access individuals’ bank accounts.

So-called “SIM swapping” complaints increased to just over 1,600 in 2021. This was a huge jump, as there were just 320 reported incidents from January 2018-December 2020, the FBI said in a release.

The thefts in 2021 resulted in more than $68 million in losses, compared with just $12 million from 2018 through 2020.

SIM swapping is where hackers target mobile carriers to gain access to victims’ bank accounts and other personal information. Criminals impersonate victims to convince mobile carriers to switch the phone number to a SIM card belonging to the perpetrator.

Once the swap is complete, the hacker will have access to all of the users’ personal data, and can use “forgot password” and other account recovery methods using the victims’ contact information.

The FBI recommends people avoid posting their private account information online, use different passwords for different platforms, and refrain from advertising information about financial assets.

If you suspect you may be a victim of SIM swapping, the FBI suggests individuals contact their mobile carrier and financial institutions immediately, change passwords of online accounts, and report all suspicious activity to authorities.

Authored by Peter Santo via Washington Times

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