SIM Swap Detection - How to Know You Have Been Sim Swapped

Haseeb Awan
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April 14, 2023
Modified On
August 29, 2023


Cybersecurity threats have become increasingly prevalent and sophisticated in today's digital age. Cybercriminals constantly find new ways to exploit computer systems and network vulnerabilities, from phishing scams to malware attacks. One of the more recent threats is Sim Swap fraud, which involves stealing someone's mobile phone number and using it to access their accounts and sensitive information. 

This blog will discuss SIM swap scams, how to detect SIM swap attacks, and the steps you can take to secure your number.

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What is a SIM Swap Scam?

SIM swap is a form of identity theft that targets your mobile phone number. It is a social engineering attack where fraudsters trick your mobile network provider into issuing a new SIM card they control. The SIM card is a small chip inserted into your phone, allowing it to connect to the network. Once the fraudster has control of your SIM card, they can receive all your phone calls and text messages, access your online accounts, and even drain your bank account.

Some Stats Regarding SIM Swap Scam

According to a 2021 report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), identity theft was the second most reported category of fraud, accounting for 33% of all reports. Within the identity theft category, the report stated that the number of reported mobile phone account takeover incidents, including SIM swap attacks, increased by 78% between 2019 and 2020.

The report also highlighted that young adults between the ages of 20-29 were the most likely to report incidents of mobile phone account takeovers, with a 47% increase in reports from this age group between 2019 and 2020. Additionally, the report stated that the median loss for mobile phone account takeovers victims was $300. Still, losses could be much higher depending on the access the fraudster gained to the victim's accounts.

Another report by Javelin Strategy & Research estimated that the cost of account takeover fraud in the US in 2020 was $2.3 billion, with mobile phone account takeovers accounting for $1.9 billion. The report noted that SIM swap attacks were becoming more common and that fraudsters were increasingly using social engineering tactics to trick victims into divulging their personal information.

While specific statistics on SIM swap scams in the US can be challenging to find, the reports mentioned above suggest that mobile phone account takeover, including SIM swap attacks, is a growing problem in the US, with significant financial losses for victims.

How Does SIM Swap Scam Work?

SIM swap scams are relatively easy to pull off. Let’s have a look at how it works:

  • The fraudster compiles the victim's data, including name, birthdate, address, and phone number.
  • Pretending to be the victim, the fraudster contacts the victim's mobile network provider and reports that the victim's SIM card has been lost or stolen.
  • The mobile network provider will then request personal information, such as the fraudster's date of birth or address, to confirm their identities.
  • The mobile network provider will issue the fraudster a new SIM card once they are confident that they are the rightful owner of the mobile number based on the information they have provided.
  • After activating the new SIM card, the fraudster will control the victim's mobile phone number. 
  • The victim will lose access to their phone calls and text messages, and the fraudster can use the phone number to access the victim's accounts, reset passwords, and even steal their identity.

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Social Media's Role in SIM Swapping

Social media has played a significant role in SIM swap scams by providing fraudsters access to potential victims' personal information. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are rich sources of personal information, including phone numbers, email addresses, birthdates, and other identifying information.

Fraudsters can use this information to impersonate their victims and convince mobile network providers to transfer their phone numbers to a new SIM card in the fraudster's possession. Once the fraudster controls the victim's phone number, they can access the victim's online accounts, including banking, email, and social media accounts.

There are several ways that social media can facilitate SIM swap scams:

Social Engineering 

Fraudsters use social engineering tactics to trick victims into divulging personal information, including phone numbers and account login credentials. For example, a fraudster might impersonate a customer service representative from a mobile network provider and ask the victim to confirm their phone number and login credentials.

Account compromise 

Fraudsters can use compromised social media accounts to gather personal information about potential victims. Once they have access to a victim's account, they can use the information they find there to craft convincing phishing messages.

Public profiles 

Many social media users have public profiles that anyone can view. Fraudsters can use information from these profiles, such as phone numbers and email addresses, to target potential victims.

SMS-based 2FA 

Some social media platforms use SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA) to verify user accounts. However, this authentication method can be vulnerable to SIM swap scams. Fraudsters can intercept the verification code sent to the victim's phone number and use it to access the victim's account.

Banks and SIM Swap Scams

Banks also risk SIM swap scams, as fraudsters can use the victim's phone number to access their bank accounts. Once the fraudster controls the victim's phone number, they can intercept verification codes sent by the bank and use them to log into the victim's account and conduct fraudulent transactions.

To protect against SIM swap scams, banks have implemented various security measures, including:

SMS alerts

Banks can send SMS alerts to customers when changes are made to their accounts, such as a phone number or address change.

Multi-factor authentication 

Banks can require customers to use multi-factor authentication to access their accounts, such as passwords, security questions, and biometric authentication.

Fraud detection algorithms 

Banks can use fraud detection algorithms to detect unusual activity on customer accounts and flag suspicious transactions for review.

Customer education 

Banks can educate their customers about the risks of SIM swap scams and provide tips on protecting themselves.

In addition, some banks have implemented SIM swap detection services, which monitor for changes to a customer's mobile phone account and alert the customer and the bank if a SIM swap is detected. For example, the bank might send an email or SMS alert to the customer asking them to confirm whether they initiated the SIM swap. If the customer does not initiate the SIM swap, the bank can freeze the account and prevent unauthorized access.

Overall, while banks are at risk of SIM swap scams, they have implemented various security measures to protect their customers' accounts. However, customers should also protect themselves by monitoring their accounts regularly for suspicious activity and enabling multi-factor authentication.

How to Detect SIM Swap Scams?

Detecting SIM swap scams is essential to prevent attackers from accessing sensitive information and causing financial losses. Here are some ways to detect SIM swap scams:

Check For Loss Of Service. 

One of the first signs that a SIM swap scam has occurred is a sudden loss of mobile service. If your phone suddenly stops working or you cannot make calls or receive messages, it could be a sign that your SIM card has been swapped.

Check For Unusual Account Activity. 

Another way to detect a SIM swap scam is to monitor your online accounts for unusual activity. If you notice any unauthorized logins or changes to your account settings, it could be a sign that your phone number has been compromised.

Monitor Your Credit Report.

A SIM swap scam can also result in identity theft, so monitoring your credit report for any unauthorized activity is essential. If you notice any unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report, it could be a sign that someone has used your personal information to commit fraud.

Be Wary Of Phishing Attempts. 

Cybercriminals commonly use phishing to steal sensitive information, including login credentials and personal details. Be wary of suspicious emails or messages asking for your personal information or login credentials. If you suspect a phishing attempt, report it to your service provider and delete the message.

Sign Up For Sim Swap Detection Services 

Several mobile service providers, including Efani, offer Sim Swap detection services that monitor your phone number for suspicious activity. If a Sim Swap attempt is detected, the service provider will alert you immediately and take steps to prevent the attackers from gaining access to your accounts.

By following these SIM swap detection steps and being vigilant about any suspicious activity related to your mobile phone number or online accounts, you can protect yourself from SIM swap scams and minimize the risk of financial loss and identity theft.

Steps to Take If You Suspect a SIM Swap Scam

You can take the following precautions to safeguard yourself if you believe you have been the victim of a SIM swap:

Get in touch with your network provider

The first thing you should do is contact your mobile network provider immediately if you believe your SIM card has been switched without your permission. After you have explained the situation, requesting a freeze on your account will stop any further unauthorized access. Before making any changes to your account, request that your provider confirm your identity.

Change Your Passwords

Once you have contacted your mobile network provider, change the passwords to all your online accounts linked to your phone numbers, such as banking, email, and social media accounts. Use strong, unique passwords for each account and enable two-factor authentication wherever possible.

Keep track of your accounts

Check your accounts frequently for any suspicious activity, such as unauthorized transactions or alterations to the information associated with them. If you see it, report any suspicious activity immediately to your bank or the appropriate service provider.

Inform the authorities of the incident

If you think you may have fallen victim to a SIM swap scam, report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your local law enforcement organization. You can report identity theft online at, the FTC website.

Be cautious while interacting in the future

Be wary of any calls, texts, or emails you receive in the future from people you don't know. Fraudsters might make another attempt to get in touch with you to get more of your personal information or to con you into giving them your login information. Avoid providing information responding to unsolicited requests, and watch out for phishing scams.

Consider additional security measures

Consider additional security measures to protect your accounts, such as using a password manager to generate and store strong, unique passwords for each account and enabling app-based two-factor authentication instead of SMS-based methods.

Educate others

Educate others about the risks of SIM swap scams and how to protect themselves. Spread awareness by sharing information on social media, talking to friends and family, and attending relevant community events.

If you suspect a SIM swap has occurred, taking immediate action is crucial to prevent further unauthorized access to your accounts. Contact your mobile network provider, change your passwords, monitor your accounts, report the incident to the authorities, and be cautious of future communication. By taking these steps and educating others, you can protect yourself and help prevent SIM swap scams from happening to others.

How Efani Can Help You Prevent Sim Swap Fraud

Mobile service provider Efani focuses on offering secure mobile phone service and assisting in preventing SIM swap scams. Here are some strategies Efani can suggest to help you avoid SIM swap fraud:

Secure SIM Card

Efani offers a secure SIM card impervious to hacking and SIM swap fraud. A secure element embedded in the SIM card stores encryption keys and other confidential data.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Efani offers multi-factor authentication as an additional layer of security. This means that in addition to a password or PIN, you must provide a biometric identifier, such as a fingerprint or facial recognition, to access your account or make changes to your service.

SIM Swap Protection

Efani provides SIM swap protection to prevent unauthorized SIM swaps. Any attempt to swap your SIM card without your authorization will trigger an alert, and Efani will take steps to verify your identity and prevent the swap from occurring.

Real-Time Alerts

Efani provides real-time alerts to notify you of any suspicious activity on your account. This includes alerts for changes to your account information, such as phone number or address, and alerts for any attempts to access your account or make changes to your service.

Dedicated Support Team

If you have any problems with your service or SIM swap fraud, Efani's devoted support staff is here to assist you. The team can help you secure your account and stop further unauthorized access because they are trained to spot and handle potential fraud attempts.

To help stop SIM swap fraud and safeguard your mobile phone service, Efani offers a variety of features and services. Stay ahead of fraudsters and protect your phone number and personal information with Efani, which provides a secure SIM card, MFA, SIM swap protection, real-time alerts, and a dedicated support team.

Haseeb Awan
CEO, Efani Secure Mobile

I founded Efani after being Sim Swapped 4 times. I am an experienced CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the crypto and cybersecurity industry. I provide Secure Mobile Service for influential people to protect them against SIM Swaps, eavesdropping, location tracking, and other mobile security threats. I've been covered in New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Hulu, Nasdaq, Netflix, Techcrunch, Coindesk, etc. Contact me at 855-55-EFANI or for a confidential assessment to see if we're the right fit!

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