Banks in the UAE are warning customers about a new “SIM Swap” fraud and are advising them to keep their phones switched on at all times, even when they are travelling.
In an email sent to its internet banking customers, RAK Bank said the “SIM Swap” occurs when criminals fraudulently obtain a new SIM card with your existing mobile number, pretending to be you.
It adds that once the SIM swap has occurred your phone will show an on-screen notification from your service provider, with the notification usually reading, “SIM not registered”.
According to the bank, as soon as your mobile number is assigned to the new SIM card, the fraudster will receive all your calls and confidential banking SMS notifications which could include one-time passwords sent to you by the bank.
The fraudsters could use the information to access your account and conduct fraudulent transactions.
The notice states that the bank is enhancing the security of banking transactions with customers now having to enter a telephone identification number when self-registering for mobile banking.
Customers are advised that if one suspects a fraudulent SIM swap, they should contact the bank urgently to notify of the incident and contact Etisalat and Du immediately to inform them of the incident and visit their nearest outlet to restore their mobile services.
India’s ICICI Bank also sent an email to its customers recommending that one should not switch off their mobile handset if they are receiving numerous unknown calls.
“It could be a ploy to make you turn your phone off and prevent you from noticing a tampered network connection,” it adds.
Through its Twitter account, Dubai Police advised residents last week to type the bank website address into their web browser and never go to bank websites from a link in an email.
• Be cautious and try to stay aware of your mobile network connectivity status. If you realise that you are not receiving any calls or SMS notifications for a long time, something is likely to be wrong. Immediately call your service provider to be sure that you have not fallen victim to this scam.
• You should not switch your mobile phone off in the event you are receiving numerous annoying calls.
It may be a trick to get you to turn off your phone or put it on silent to prevent you from noticing that your connectivity has been tampered with.
• Register for SMS and email alerts so you know if there is any activity in your bank account.
• Check your bank statements and online banking transactions regularly to help identify any issues or irregularities.