News


This is most definitely not fake news…The Growing Threat of Sim Swap Fraud.

14th October 2020

By Mattias Berglund, Business Development Director, Americas.

Given how frequently the phrase ‘fake news’ has been bandied about the past couple of years here in the U.S. it’s all too easy to think the concept is something new. Fake news is however far from being a recent phenomenon; realistically there has never has been a golden age of transparency, with fake news and scientific misinformation being a serious problem for some time now.

Take the story a from a few months ago when we saw mobile phone operators’ infrastructure coming under attack due to the…well…fake news that the new 5G networks were the cause of the COVID-19 outbreak. Hundreds of masts were burnt around the world as a result.

Now though, a truly important issue has been gaining traction and, at last, the attention it deserves in the national news media – the curse of SIM swap fraud.

Given people’s mobile numbers have now become one of the (if not THE) most important means of identifying somebody, numbers and associated SIM information have become even higher prized targets for fraudsters.

SIM swap fraud is a type of account takeover that typically targets a weakness in two-factor (sometimes also called two-step) authentication, where the second stage is an SMS or call placed to a mobile telephone. The fraud centres around exploiting a mobile phone operator’s ability to seamlessly port a telephone number to a new SIM.

Criminals pretend to be a subscriber of a mobile operator (either online or in person) to attempt to convince the provider that they, as the customer, need a replacement SIM for their phone. Once in control of the subscriber’s mobile number, they can potentially hijack their SMS flow, calls and even the target victim’s online banking information.

Since 2017 SIM swap fraud has increased 220% in the UK alone (source: This is Money). Cases have risen dramatically globally over the past five years though, with the FBI and Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre just two of the many agencies warning of its risk. Nobody is immune with even Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, having had his personal account taken over by hackers in 2019.

From our inception, we realised that SIM swap fraud was a growing problem worldwide and have set out to bring solutions to this area which offer protection without disrupting a seamless customer experience. Ensuring customers are who they say they are is critical to any business and TMT Analysis’ Verify solution helps you do exactly this, protecting you and your customers from fraud.

TMT Analysis’ mobile number intelligence APIs connect you to our live numbering database which can spot when a SIM swap has taken place. It can even cross-reference other live telecoms data we have to verify someone’s identity, alerting you to fraudulent activity and preventing that dangerous account takeover. Being the leading provider of global mobile numbering intelligence, partnering with us means your business and customers really are in safe hands. For more information feel free to drop me a line mattias.berglund@tmtanalysis.com

 

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