SIM Swap Mobile Fraud in the UAE

People in the UAE have been a victim of many frauds in the past decades. From property scams to check frauds, the country has become a home ground for gangs looking for a way to make easy money. And the sordid fact is that most of them are able to get off scot-free after committing the crime.

The most recent scam that is circulating in the Gulf state is the SIM Swap mobile fraud that allows fraudsters to gain confidential information about the victim.

A Close Look at the SIM SWAP Mobile Fraud

The National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre in the UK has advised people that visit UAE should be aware of the SIM SWAP Mobile fraud that particularly targets expats. The fraudsters first gain access to the personal information of the victim by stealing their identity card.

The stolen information is then used to request a new SIM card from the telecommunication company, which will deactivate the old card. As a result, the fraudsters are able to receive one-time Pin codes and transfer requests through bank notifications sent to the victim’s SIM card.

The fraudsters also make and receive calls that allow them to get additional personal and confidential information.  

In light of these cases, Etisalat, that is the main telecom company operating in the country, has sent a directive to the outlet implementing more strict procedures for replacing the SIM cards. No SIM replacements will be made unless a person shows an original NIC or a valid passport. Also, the company personnel are required to verify the identification and copies of expired documents will not be accepted.

Safety Tips to Avoid the Mobile Fraud in the UAE

The best way to prevent the mobile fraud in the UAE is to be vigilant when sharing personal information online or through social media. They should never enter personal information such as debit or credit card number, passwords, or pins in an unsecured site. Also, the information should never be shared through an email or short message.

You should remain cautious of any mobile network activity. Also, if you receive a message that your mobile network is not subscribed, you must immediately contact your phone service and the bank. The email and bank passwords should also be changed and the bank account should be monitored for suspicious activity.

Also, if you don’t get a signal for a long time, you should contact a service provider through a landline to enquire whether you have been a victim of mobile fraud. You should never turn off the phone if you are getting anonymous calls as the fraudsters may be trying to force you to switch off the mobile.

Lastly, you should register for email and SMS alert with your bank to receive notification about any unusual activity relating to your bank account.