Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 October 2019

Warning in UAE over ‘SIM swap fraud’ mobile phone scam

Fraudsters gain access to personal information by stealing their identity and deceiving the telecom companies to get a SIM card attached to the victim’s mobile account.

ABU DHABI // Residents are being warned about a new type of scam where fraudsters gain access to mobile phones, allowing them to expose valuable banking information.

Last week, customers of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank were sent an email advising them about the scam, called “Sim swap fraud”.

Fraudsters gain access to personal information by stealing their identity and deceiving the telecom companies to get a Sim card attached to the victim’s mobile account.

To do so, the fraudster must first obtain personal information and fabricate official documents before requesting the new Sim card.

The telco will deactivate the old Sim and, with the new card, the fraudster will be able to receive bank notifications – such as money transfer requests and one-time Pin codes.

They can also make and receive calls, which can provide further access to personal and confidential information.

A spokesman for ADCB would not say how many customers had fallen foul of the fraud.

But the bank said that for mobile subscribers, receiving a message saying you are not registered with a network could be an indication that the Sim has been compromised.

On receiving such a message, subscribers should contact the bank and their phone service provider immediately. Bank and email passwords should also be changed and accounts monitored for suspicious activity.

Etisalat has recently sent a directive to its outlets about proper procedures for replacing customers’ Sim cards.

It said no Sim replacements should be made unless a customer presented an original identity card or a valid passport.

Documents should also be scanned by company representatives using electronic readers to verify identification.

Etisalat said copies or expired documents should not be accepted for a Sim replacement.

A du spokeswoman could not immediately comment.

In the UK, the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre has advised residents there about the scam.

Bank customers are advised to be vigilant when called by people claiming to be from a financial institution, and be cautious when sharing personal information on social media.

ADCB said it never sent SMS messages or emails requesting personal information such as passwords, credit and debit card numbers, or Pins.


Updated: June 26, 2016 04:00 AM