WINDHOEK – The Bank of Namibia has become aware of a new defrauding scheme that has reared its ugly head. The scheme primarily tries to defraud organisations and individuals by fraudulently obtaining a SIM card replacement to acquire security messages such as one-time pins (OTPs) sent to customers by their banks. The Bank of Namibia therefore alerts members of the public and business enterprises to be vigilant and not fall victim to this prevailing scam.
The modus operandi of is that fraudster typically approaches a mobile operator, impersonating a customer or pretending to act on a customer’s behalf, with a fraudulently obtained copy of the said customer’s identity document and requests for a SIM card replacement.
Once a new SIM card is obtained, the customer’s current old SIM card becomes redundant, meaning that the targeted customer will no longer receive information and will not receive signals on their cellphone. According to Bank of Namibia the targeted customer will sometimes get a call from someone posing as a consultant from the mobile company requesting the customer to switch off their phone, or to confirm some personal information.
“Once all this has happened, any ‘NotifyMe’ alerts, payment information, in Contact messages, One-time bank pin numbers and other text messages will be received by the fraudsters on the newly acquired SIM card. By using the OTPs criminals are able to change, add beneficiaries and transfer money out from your account,” explained BoN’s Director for Communications, Ndangi Katoma.
The SIM swopping is usually phase two of a fraud attack. Initially, the fraudsters will have sent a phishing email or text messages (or other similar phishing attempts) to get all the customer’s banking details. In order to use all the gathered information they need access to your phone – hence the SIM swop.
“Namibian businesses enterprises and other organisations and the public at large should therefore be on alert about this prevailing scam and are cautioned to protect personal and cell phone account information,” noted Katoma.
The Bank of Namibia has also offered some tips for the public to protect themselves from a possible SIM swop bank fraud. The public should be vigilant and stay aware of the cellphone’s network connectivity status, and contact network operator or bank in case the phone is not receiving any calls or SMS notifications.
Do not switch off the cellphone in the event of numerous annoying calls, rather people should not answer the calls. This could be a ploy to get a person to turn off the phone or put it on silent to prevent them from noticing that the connectivity has been tampered with.
SIM card swop fraud almost always works hand-in-hand with phishing, so the same protection mechanisms for phishing should also apply; do not click on links from emails, SMS’s purporting to be from the bank and enter log-on information.
Make a habit of checking bank statements and online banking transaction history regularly to help identify any issues or irregularities. Register for text messages and email notification to receive alerts on activities at the bank.
The Bank of Namibia also advised all members of the public not to divulge any personal banking details to unauthorized third parties. Promoters of this scam, including persons that are working for this syndicate in Namibia, are strongly warned to cease such activities with immediate effect.
By Staff Reporter