FBI warns: SIM-swapping attacks are rocketing, don't brag about your crypto online

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is warning about a big uptick in scams using smartphone SIM swapping to defraud victims. 

Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) swapping is an old trick, but the FBI has issued a new alert about it because of a massive leap in reported cases in 2021 compared to previous years.    

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Smartphones are critical tools for authenticating to online services, such as banks that use SMS for sign-in codes. It is a serious problem – if crooks can gain control of these services, they can access the victim’s bank, email, social media, and bank accounts. Complaints to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) have skyrocketed in the past year.

SEE: Cybersecurity: Let’s get tactical (ZDNet special report)

From January 2018 to December 2020, the FBI received 320 complaints related to SIM-swapping incidents with losses of approximately $12 million. In 2021, it received 1,611 SIM-swapping complaints with losses of more than $68 million, the FBI warned in a new public service announcement

Scammers abuse the support services of mobile network operator call centers by calling them and posing as customers to get a new SIM card. The victim doesn’t know a new

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