FBI says $68 million was lost to victims last year
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Scammers are using SIM card exchanges to steal your money through your cell phone, federal law enforcement officials are warning.
It’s a Scam FBI Special Agent Daniel Sirmons says he sees it playing across the country. He spoke with investigator Shannon Behnken to explain how victims lost $68 million last year – and how the crime is spreading.
“They’re basically impersonating you,” Sirmons said. “They contact your telecom provider. They provide enough PII to you to the provider for them to convince the provider that they are you.
It says they will then ask for a new SIM card to be attached to your account.
“It just happens to be a SIM card that they have in a phone – and that way after the transaction is complete, if the phone rings, it will ring the bad guy’s phone,” explained Sirmons.
The FBI has warned of criminals who take control of the SIM cards of unknown victims’ cellphones and steal their personal information, including details of bank accounts and financial apps. Scams have earned criminals $68 million in 2021 alone, according to the FBI. The agency says it has received more than 1,611 complaints. Compare that to $12 million in losses from 2018 to 2020.
The FBI urges the public to be aware of suspicious emails and not to advertise investments in cryptocurrency or other financial assets.
“Once the SIM card is swapped, the victim’s calls, texts and other data are diverted to the criminal’s device,” the FBI said. “This access allows criminals to send ‘Forgot Password’ or ‘Account Recovery’ requests to the victim’s email address and other online accounts associated with the victim’s mobile phone number. the victim.”
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