BDO Unibank Inc., the country’s largest lender controlled by the Sy family, on Wednesday warned the public against scammers who allegedly use SIM cards to deceive and steal victims’ money.
BDO in a statement cited one modus of unscrupulous individuals called “SIM swapping” where they disguise as telecom 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 needed to own the mobile number,” it said.
BDO said in both modus operandi, scammers take over their victims’ mobile number to control their victims’ online bank accounts.
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 one-time PIN to activate a 4G SIM card.
BDO advised 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 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,” the bank said.
BDO advised clients to call BDO Customer Care to deactivate their accounts if they get SMS notifications or emails about suspicious online transactions.