BDO Unibank, Inc. cautions against scammers who use SIM cards to deceive and steal their victims’ money. One modus is called SIM Swapping, where scammers disguise as telco agents offering upgraded network connection in exchange for SIM cards.
More prevalent is the SIM Upgrade modus. Scammers purchase 4G SIM cards, register their victims’ mobile number, and fool their victims into giving the One-Time PIN (OTP) needed to own the mobile number.
In both modus operandi, scammers take over their victims’ mobile numbers to control their victims’ online bank accounts.
BDO urges clients to call BDO Customer Care to deactivate their accounts if they get SMS notifications or emails about suspicious online transactions.
How SIM Swapping and SIM Upgrade work
Scammers identify then gather their victims’ personal information through phishing or from the internet. They mention personal information such as birth date and mother’s maiden name when they call their victims to sound convincing and credible. Once they win their victims’ trust, they are able to convince them to surrender their SIM card or OTP to activate a 4G SIM card.
For protection, BDO advises clients to be prudent in sharing personal information online and to keep their social media accounts in private mode.
With their victims’ personal information and mobile number, scammers can more easily outsmart banks’ multifactor authentication (MFA) and transfer money from their victims’ online bank accounts to their own. Common MFA consists of using a username and password to log in an online bank account, and receiving one-time PINs on a registered mobile number to confirm a transaction.
How to protect yourself
While scammers continue to take advantage of today’s challenging new normal to con people, there are ways to protect against their attacks. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) share the following tips in a recent advisory:
• Never give out personal information and SIM card details in response to unsolicited calls/texts from unknown individuals.
• Always check SMS and email alerts for unusual transactions and/or activities involving your bank/e-money accounts.
• In case you’ve already provided your SIM and other personal details, contact your bank/mobile phone provider immediately.
BDO encourages clients to report suspicious incidents to ReportPhish@bdo.com.ph, or get in touch with its representatives by logging in Messenger and looking for BDO Customer Care with the blue verified checkmark from Facebook. Clients may also call their hotline at 8631-8000.