Home Technology How to Protect Your Phone Number from SIM Swap Fraud

How to Protect Your Phone Number from SIM Swap Fraud

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To protect you from the vulnerability of SIM Swaps, mobile service provider Safaricom has provided a solution where one locks their own number to ensure no one else can swap your sim card without your knowledge.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
You only need to dial *100*100#

After dialing, you will receive a message from Safaricom informing you that your number cannot be replaced anywhere unless you are there personally with your original ID.

The increased mobile phone connectivity in the country has left millions of users vulnerable to data breaches and privacy issues. Various criminal cases have been reported in the country, where scammers swap SIM cards to steal money from bank accounts and people impersonated.

To protect you from the vulnerability of SIM Swaps, mobile service provider Safaricom has provided a solution where one locks their own number to ensure no one else can swap your sim card without your knowledge. You only need to dial *100*100#

After dialing, you will receive a message from Safaricom informing you that your number cannot be replaced anywhere by anyone unless you are there in person and with your national ID or passport.

The move by Safaricom comes after a recent case was reported after a 58-year-old man Farah Bashir, a medical laboratory scientist, lost 2.6 million shillings from ruthless fraudsters in February. The hackers had accessed his contacts and were texting and calling those close to him, but nobody thought much about it.

He later got a disturbing message from Safaricom informing him that the company had received a Sim Card swap request and told him to ignore the message if he had not initiated it.

He, however, sensed something was wrong when he was unable to access M-Pesa services while attempting to purchase airtime. His fingerprint lock was also rejected while trying to access the Absa Bank app.

He decided to log in using his laptop, where he found out a withdrawal of 150,000 shillings had already been made from his Kenyan currency account, which had a total of 335,000 Shillings. Little did he know this was just a start; another 150,000 shillings was withdrawn as he watched helplessly on his laptop, leaving the account with 35,000 shillings. The remaining 35,000 shillings were also withdrawn while he desperately tried to reach out to Absa to raise the matter and change his password.

The hackers went ahead and emptied his dollar currency account, which had $17,451 (2 million shillings), where his money was withdrawn in 10 quotas. His Sterling pound account, which had 231,000 shillings, was the next to be cleaned.

The hackers had made away with 2.6 million shillings by the end of their digital adventure.

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