July 28, 2021

SIM card exchange fraud “more and more present” in the North West

Agent Jim Davis of the PPO indicates that this type of fraud has been reported frequently in the Toronto area for several months, but it had never been noticed until recently in the Rainy River district.

However, a few cases of SIM swap fraud have been recorded in recent weeks in the Atikokan and Fort Frances regions.

We are seeing it more and more and it is a concern that is now on our radar.

A quote from:Jim Davis, speaker of the Ontario Provincial Police

According to Agent Davis, fraudsters compile information about their victims, such as date of birth and phone number, including through social media.

When they have gathered enough information, they call the mobile phone service providers, claim that their phones no longer work and that they need a new SIM card.

When the fraudster gets a new SIM card, they are often able to download apps that people use frequently, such as banking apps., he explains. He claims to have forgotten the password and from there he obtains a code to reset the password.

Scammers use information they collect on social media like date of birth or phone number, police say.

Photo : Getty Images / Damien Meyer

He specifies that among the cases recorded in the district of Rainy River, the fraud was detected quickly and none of the victims lost money, but the police officer Davis points out that elsewhere in the province, some victims lost until tens of thousands of dollars by this deception.

As soon as you notice that your cell phone is no longer working, the best thing to do is to call your service provider. […] For example, we may require the provider never to give us a new SIM card unless we physically go to a service counter and show identification.

A quote from:Jim Davis, speaker of the Ontario Provincial Police
A person press the screen of a smart phone.

According to the PPO even residents of remote areas are not immune to deceptions like SIM swap fraud.

Photo : iStock / Blackzheep

Other measures advocated by the Ontario Provincial Police:

  • Avoid posting personal information on social media, such as date of birth
  • Never respond to questionable messages requiring password confirmation or account update
  • Employ an offline tool for password management

The victims in the Rainy River district were customers of Rogers, according to Agent Davis, who however specifies that this kind of fraud is not limited to Rogers.

No other trend was detected by the PPO among victims of SIM swap fraud.

What we generally see is that when one type of fraud happens two, three times, you start to see it more frequently. We just hope people take preventative measures, concludes the agent.