Specialists in bank security warn about the detection of a new type of scam in Costa Rica.
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Published on Tuesday, August 31, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Specialists in bank security warn about the detection of a new type of scam in Costa Rica, known as SIM swap, the Bank's Chamber said.

A SIM swap scam, also known as port-out scam, is a type of account takeover fraud that generally targets a weakness in two-factor authentication and two-step verification in which the second factor or step is a text message, SMS, or call placed to a mobile telephone.

According to the chamber, people must be aware and take precautions to avoid this new type of fraud that was detected recently.

"In recent weeks, banks have detected this form of fraud and it is vital that people not only know about it but also know how to avoid becoming a victim," Annabelle Ortega, representative of the Chamber said.

The scam begins when the crooks manage to impersonate the victim and contact the victim's telephone service provider company. Then the scammers claim that their cell phone was stolen or lost, so they ask to block the phone line.

Then the offenders using false ID documents visit the telephone company to request a new cell phone and SIM. Using the victim's new phone number, criminals can access the victim's sensitive information such as bank accounts, emails, among others.

The chamber urges the public to never hesitate to go to the bank to file an accusation in any suspicion of being victims of a SIM swap scam.

To avoid being a victim of SIM swapping scam, specialists provide the following recommendations:

- If your cell phone service is interrupted or suspended, contact the telephone company provider immediately.

- If your SIM card is blocked, use a PIN or password to unblock it and report the case to the telephone provider company.

- Never share sensitive information to other people such as bank account numbers, access codes, private access codes to your phone or credit cards, among others.

- If you receive a phone call from a person claiming to be from the phone company and they are asking you for private information, immediately hang up and report the case to the phone service provider company.

- Always use the double verification system to access your private bank accounts or emails.

- Do not keep confidential information saved in your cell phone.

- Only use a dedicated email account to receive notifications from your bank.

- Never share the access passwords of that account with other people.

- Avoid using a public Wi-Fi signal.

- Avoid opening attached documents from cell phones, social networks, or WhatsApp. Except that you are waiting for that document and the sender is from an official well-known address.

- Never share sensitive information on social media.

- Install antivirus on all your devices.

Always keep in communication with your bank and phone service provider through visits to agencies, calling the official company telephone numbers or emails.

What have you heard of expats being victims of scammers in Costa Rica? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com


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