How Tiaxa's Alternative Mobile Data Prevents SIM Swapping

During the last two years and the global effects of the Covid pandemic, the great digital race has dramatically increased the use of mobile devices, especially in Latin America. This has resulted in identity and detection solutions taking on a special relevance due to the Sharp increase in registered cases of cybercrimes and violations of user personal data.

According to a Comscore report, countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Colombia have shown the highest figures in the Latam region with respect to the use of mobile devices, reaching up to 87% of the total time that the user occupies their mobile phone. In addition, according to data from the Association of Banks of Mexico (ABM), during 2020 there were 8.6 million claims for bank fraud.

One of the most documented cybercrimes is known as SIM Swapping fraud, a type of fraud that allows criminals to usurp a person’s identity by hijacking their mobile phone number by activating a new SIM card. But how does it work specifically?

Here´s a guide to the 4 steps of SIM Swapping:

1. The fraudster or scammer obtains the victim’s personal data through data leaks, phishing, social networks, malicious apps, online purchases, malware, etc. or even through physical theft in which the user’s identity documents are stolen by the fraudster.

2. With the information obtained, the fraudster goes to the mobile operator to request a new SIM card with the victim’s number.

3. The victim will notice that their mobile phone loses network service and eventually, usually several hours later, they find that they cannot access their banking or other applications.

4. The fraudster can now receive incoming calls and text messages, which allow him/her to re-establish access to the victim’s financial and personal apps.

The usual end result of this type of fraud is that by the time the user discovers that their data has been breached, their bank accounts have been depleted by ilegal withdrawals.

Alternative mobile data as a solution to this new breed of fraud

To help combat this type of fraud, Tiaxa has developed a platform that allows banking or financial applications, and mobile applications of all kinds, to access online information on “SIM Change Status” with the mobile operator. This can be used to validate a transaction, login, a service request or personal data updates using alternative mobile data.

You may also be interested in reading Three reasons why alternative data can improve business processes in financial institutions

When the user takes any action the financial institution or business communicates via API with the Tiaxa solution, which in-turn validates the date of the last SIM change in the network. This is done by verifying the data directly with the mobile operator, providing an almost immediate response, thus allowing the business to implement additional security mechanisms to protect its customers and users against all type of suspect actions.

It is worth noting that in Latin America, Mexico is the country that has been most affected by SIM Swapping cases. According to the National Commission for the Protection and Defense of Users of Financial Services (Condusef- Comisión Nacional para la Protección y Defensa de los Usuarios de Servicios Financieros) the number of cyber identity theft claims increased 110% in a single year (increasing from 3,105 in 2018 to 6,532 cases by 2019)

As a direct result, the following year the Secretariat of Citizen Security (SSC- Secretaría de Seguridad Ciudadana) of Mexico City issued a warning with a series of recommendations on how to protect personal data in mobile devices and avoid being a victim of SIM Swapping.

For more information about Tiaxa’s identity and detection solutions you can contact us through the following form.