Mobile Watchdog Live has discovered that staff employed in mobile phone shops are key people involved in “Sim-Swap” crimes and they are working hand in glove with criminals. Undercover filming carried out by the network’s sleuths discovered that employees of two popular networks O2 and Vodafone have been using their ability to obtain SIM cards without identity cards by making replacement SIM cards and handing them out to criminals. These fraudsters are able to intercept SMS text messages that banks send to original owners along with security codes which makes it easy for them to withdraw money from their bank accounts easily.
O2 told news agencies that it asks customers for photo identification only when they replace SIMS on monthly contracts so customers under “Pay as you go” schemes will receive and authorization code that alerts them if someone is trying to access their number or duplicate it for fake transactions. But the investigation team of Watchdog Live said that they have been able to walk out with a replacement SIM from O2 stores every-time. O2 then accepted that it does send out authorization codes to customers but sometimes these are not received by victims’ smartphones.
Vodafone expressed disappointment that its employees did not follow established security procedures despite being trained to do so and said it takes “SIM Swap” issues very seriously and will carry out all necessary precautions in future. In nation where some numbers are considered premium, these SIM swapping criminals ran up huge mobile phone bills by using replacement SIMS. But as now online services have two-factor authentication method that requires text messages to be sent to mobile phones the risk has increased. These scams occur when criminals are able to convince SIM sellers to give them replacement SIM by using fake identities that they would have stolen using malware and cyber-attacks which is sometimes stolen on dark web.