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How to tell if you’ve had your SIM card hacked
There are a number of (usually very easy) ways to detect if your SIM card has been cloned or hacked:
- You’re no longer receiving calls and texts. If someone has cloned your SIM card or has convinced your network operator to switch your number to a new SIM card that they have in their possession, you won’t receive any more texts or phone calls. A phone number can only be associated to one SIM card at a time. You can easily check this by asking a friend to call or text you and if it doesn’t come through then you know you might have a problem. Note: If you can still receive calls and texts then your SIM has not been hacked or cloned.
- Unrecognized numbers on your account. If you’re checking the outgoing calls on your bill and see numbers that you don’t recognize, it might be time to contact your network operator and try to get more information.
- You receive a message requesting you to restart your device. One of the very first signs of SIM hacking that you’ll notice is a seemingly random text purporting to be from your network provider asking you to restart your device. This is usually a message sent from the hacker. Restarting the phone gives them a chance, whilst the phone is off, to steal your SIM details.
- Your device appears in a different location on location-trackers. If you’re using something like Find My iPhone for iOS or Google’s Find my Device for Android, then this can be a good way to check for SIM problems. If your phone is appearing in a different location, this is a sure-fire sign that your SIM card has been compromised and is being used by a hacker. Note: In a lot of cases, hackers will just disable this setting.
- You’re locked out of your accounts. Lots of accounts utilize a security feature called two-factor authentication. This is a feature that prevents a hacker from accessing your account even if they know your username and password. This works by confirming your login with a unique code sent via a text message. The problem is that if a hacker has managed to clone or hack your SIM card, they can now receive that verification code and use it to gain access to accounts that they wouldn’t have had before. This has happened before in a real-life scenario as mentioned here.
Once you’ve ensured that your SIM card hasn’t been cloned or hacked, you may also want to check if someone has installed spyware on your phone. As mentioned above, this is a much more common way for hackers to eavesdrop on your calls or texts as well as reading other private information such as emails, browsing history and account passwords. If you’re concerned about data-stealing spyware then protect your device with our mobile security tools for iOS and Android.