Man loses $1M in SIM swap fraud

Khaleej Times - - NATION - Amira Agarib amira@khalee­j­

dubai — A Dubai res­i­dent got the shock of his life when he found out that he lost $1 mil­lion (Dh3.67 mil­lion) in bank trans­ac­tions he knew noth­ing about.

The man was trav­el­ling out­side the coun­try and upon his re­turn to Dubai, he was met with bank let­ters stat­ing that money trans­fers had been car­ried out from his ac­count, po­lice au­thor­i­ties said.

He dis­cov­ered that his reg­is­tered SIM card num­ber was re­placed with an­other one with­out his knowl­edge. Through the new num­ber, the scam­mers were able to make trans­ac­tions on his be­half.

Bri­gadier Ab­dul Rahim bin Shafi’i, di­rec­tor of Al Bar­sha po­lice

station in Dubai, said that since a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent was re­ported re­cently, they launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that led to the ar­rest of four sus­pects who may have mas­ter­minded the modus operandi. The probe showed that the gang had links with oth­ers out­side the coun­try. The other re­cent vic­tim lost Dh800,000.

In both cases, Brig Shafi’i said

the SIM cards were reg­is­tered un­der cer­tain com­pany names and the sus­pects ap­peared to have used fake pa­pers and trade li­cences to get the vic­tims’ mo­bile num­bers and have them re­placed. Such types of frauds, he said, re­quire scam­mers to get as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble about the tar­get vic­tim. Hack­ers may send phish­ing e-mails, which may ap­pear to have come from banks or in­sur­ance com­pa­nies.

Through bogus mails and web­sites, they would ask vic­tims to pro­vide per­sonal data like their names, birth dates, ad­dresses and phone num­bers, Shafi’i said.

“Un­for­tu­nately, many peo­ple can­not dis­tin­guish be­tween real and de­cep­tive e-mails,” he added, urg­ing the pub­lic to be wary of such schemes.

On khalee­j­

Read: SIM swap fraud: How to pro­tect your­self in the UAE

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