What is a SIM Swap?

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Updated: 12/30/2019 by Computer Hope

The term SIM swap refers to the process of transferring a cell phone’s SIM card to another device. A SIM swap allows the phone number from the old device to be used on the new device for calls and text messages. Also, access to stored data, like contacts and cellular data, is transferred by moving a SIM card to a new device. A SIM swap ensures that the process of switching to a new phone is fast and easy.

How to transfer a SIM card to a new device

Most popular phones support SIM cards that can be swapped universally with phones from the same brand, or even competing brands. To perform a SIM swap, follow the steps below.

Note

Some SIM trays, like the one in the pictured Xioumi Redmi phone, feature support for multiple SIM cards. Make sure to verify you are replacing the correct type of SIM card.

  1. If there is a case on your phone, remove it.
  2. Locate the SIM tray on the top or side of the device.
  3. Open the SIM tray by pressing the small circular button with a narrow object, like a paperclip.
  4. Pull the SIM tray open and remove the old SIM card.
  5. Place the new SIM card in the tray, ensuring the card aligns with the direction of the cutout.
  6. Push the SIM tray closed.

Scams involving SIM swaps

Unfortunately, the simplicity of swapping a SIM card with another device has led to security threats known as a SIM swap scam or simjacking. After obtaining a SIM card or gaining unauthorized access to a cell phone number by contacting a carrier, scammers can use the cell phone numbers to help hack accounts. These malicious users may obtain your SIM card after you have discarded it. They may also use social engineering to convince your data carrier that they’re you, and ask that your account’s SIM card registration be reset to a SIM card they control.

If successful, these attackers could bypass 2FA (two-factor authentication) to access your personal data. For example, the attacker could request that your e-mail password be reset. If the 2FA check is sent to the phone with the SIM card they control, they might be able to seize control of your e-mail account.

Account, Phone terms, Security terms, SIM card

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