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Trust & Safety

Protect Yourself From SIM Swap Fraud

PhonePe Team|2 min read|28 July, 2017

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Phone calls from an unknown number claiming to be your bank representative. SMS messages asking you to share the OTP you just received. Fraudsters are constantly looking at ways to gain access to your money. It helps to be aware of the various scams fraudsters use, so that you can recognize the signs of an attempted scam and avoid them.

We will be covering different scams and frauds as part of an ongoing series on fraud and customer security.

What is SIM swap fraud?

A SIM swap scam is where fraudsters get a new SIM issued for your phone number, using your personal details. By doing this, they also gain access to OTPs needed for authorizing payments from your bank account.

This basically means that the fraudsters will be able to steal money from your bank account using your OTPs.

Important reminder — PhonePe never asks for confidential or personal details. Ignore all mails claiming to be from PhonePe if they are not from the domain. If you suspect fraud, please contact the authorities immediately.

How does SIM swap fraud happen?

  1. The fraudster calls you pretending to be a representative from your mobile operator, and asks you to forward an SMS to upgrade your network. This SMS contains a 20 digit number from the back of a new SIM. They also ask you for your confidential bank details.
  2. This SMS deactivates your current SIM and activates a duplicate SIM that the fraudsters have illegally obtained. Your SIM stops working and loses all connectivity.
  3. The fraudsters gain access to your phone number and SMSes, and use your bank details to initiate a money transfer.
  4. The fraudsters receive an OTP for the transfer, and can now read it and send money from your account to their own account.

If your phone has lost mobile connectivity for an extended period of time for no reason, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Please contact your mobile operator if this happens.

Here’s how you can stay safe:

  • Do not share your bank account details (card number, expiry date, PIN) with anyone.
  • If you receive mail communications or SMSes claiming to be from your bank or mobile operator, verify if they have been sent from the official SMS handle/e-mail address.
  • Never share OTPs or any other codes that you receive via SMS or other channels with anyone.
  • Subscribe to e-mail & SMS alerts to keep track of transactions made from your account.
  • Regularly check your bank transaction history to and monitor for irregularities.

Stay tuned for the next installment in our series!

Watch a video on transacting safely:

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