Know how e-SIM card fraud works and how to prevent it

The concept of e-SIM has been growing consistently - especially in the case of those dealing with IoT and related tasks. Designed as a means of fighting the menace of physical SIMs, we are still noticing a few frauds related to e-SIM. Have you ever given a thought to know what is e-SIM fraud and how it works?

Cases of e-SIM fraud are on the rise world wide. You would not be hard pressed to find news of scammers using e-SIM fraud to gain access to your mobile wallets and even bank accounts. With UPI penetration on a high, it is very important to understand how e-SIM fraud occurs and how you can prevent the same from happening to you.

What is e-SIM fraud?

The e-SIM fraud is a racket which is used to siphon out money from your bank accounts. This is done on the pretext of giving you a e-SIM card. Since these messages appear to be coming from the telecom operators themselves, people tend to fall prey to the scam.
There are several methodologies involved in this scam, but the most common method is to ask you get the e-SIM urgently to prevent issues you may be suffering from with respect to your connectivity or physical SIM card.

How does e-SIM fraud happen?

The story begins with the e-SIM that a few mobile operators have introduced. These e-SIMs do not need a physical SIM card that we are used to. In fact, this concept is designed to keep the fraudsters away. However, the fraudsters as they are - they are up in arms in finding the loopholes in the mechanism and have begun frauding the telecom users.

The fraud mechanism starts on the following lines -
  • The Warning Message - You will receive a message stating that your SIM requires an upgrade. The message can include anything like "Your SIM card will be blocked in 24 hours", "Please update your KYC to avoid deactivation of your SIM card" or similar other messages.
  • The Calls - Having the victim scared of a possible deactivation, the fraudsters call you claiming to be from the telecom operators. They know your operator and will claim themselves to be from Jio, Airtel or Vodafone Idea
  • The Emails - Next, you will receive an email that appear to be from your telecom operator. The email will ask you to visit a link and fill out a form.".
  • The Banking registration - The email and links are actually a means of registering the email ID of the fraudsters for your banking records.
  • E-SIM Request - Now they will ask their victims to send a e-SIM request to their service provider using the registered email ID.
  • Once the e-SIM is activated, the QR code for the e-SIM goes to the email ID registered by the fraudster. The fraudsters will scan the QR code and activate the e-SIM. The moment e-SIM is activated, the SIM on the users' device gets deactivated.

That is the entire modus operandi of the fraudsters. They will sign up with the e-SIM on the digital wallets and link it to your bank account to siphon out money comfortably.

How to prevent e-SIM Fraud?

There are several means that you can employ to prevent falling prey to the e-SIM fraud or any other similar money siphoning attempts. Some of the precautions can include the following steps that can prove to be helpful -
  • Never share your internet banking user id, PIN, passwords and card CVV numbers with anyone. Remember that even the banks do not ask you for this confidential information.
  • Make sure that you check the messages and alerts you have received are actually from the telecom operator. The telecom operators do not call you to changeover to e-SIM without your own request for the purpose.
  • Use the official mobile apps from the service provider with your phone number duly registered on them. This will ensure that you will get all the information related to your SIM card on the app itself and you can be assured that the information is genuine.
  • Never respond to any unknown emails and calls and part with your information.
  • Register for both SMS and email alerts. This will help you get access to a complete information on any financial transaction right away.
  • If you notice your SIM card has stopped working without any apparent reasons, get in touch with your bank and service provider immediately. You can immediately change or block your registered mobile number if you suspect any serious concerns you need to be careful about.

If you follow a few of those precautions, you can be assured of a complete protection against the fraud. Check out those steps and be safe!


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