FBI says $68 million lost from victims last year
Tampa, Fla. (WFLA) – Fraudsters are using SIM card swapping to steal your money over your cell phone, federal law enforcement officials warn.
It’s a scam FBI Agent Daniel Sirmons says he’s seen playing out across the country. He sat down with Investigator Shannon Behnken to explain how victims lost $68 million in the last year alone — and how widespread the crime is.
“They’re basically impersonating you,” Sirmons said. “They are contacting your telecom service provider. They are giving enough of your PII to the vendor for them to convince the supplier that they are you. “
He says they will then ask for a new SIM card to be attached to your account.
“It happens to be a SIM card that they have in their phone – and that way when that transaction is complete, if the phone rings, it will ring on the phone the bad guy has,” explains Sirmons. .
The FBI has warned of criminals taking control of cell phone SIM cards from unknown victims and stealing their personal information, including bank account details and financial apps. . According to the FBI, scams netted criminals $68 million in 2021. The agency says it has received more than 1,611 complaints. Compare that to a loss of $12 million in 2018 to 2020.
The FBI is urging the public to be aware of suspicious emails and not to advertise investments in cryptocurrencies or other financial assets.
After the SIM swap, the victim’s calls, texts, and other data are redirected to the criminal’s device, the FBI said. “This access allows criminals to send ‘Forgot Password’ or ‘Recover Account’ requests to the victim’s email and other online accounts linked to the victim’s mobile phone number. “
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https://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/better-call-behnken/fbi-crooks-trying-to-swap-your-phone-sim-and-steal-your-money/ FBI: Crooks trying to swap your phone SIM and steal your money