Following the surge in phone and Internet scam, it's now a herculean task to protect your private information. Things like your name, date of birth, bank verification number (bvn), phone numbers, SIM cards are all at risk.
Hackers, phone and Internet fraudsters are currently on the prowl, looking for gullible fellows to bamboozle. Once, they have access to these information, they will successfully end up in clearing the money of their victims, leaving them miserable and forlorn.
Last Monday, I went to the Ariaria branch of one of the commercial banks in Aba, Abia State, to activate my mobile app for a new account I recently opened with the bank. What transpired that day prompted this post.
While conversing with the customer care representative of the bank who was guiding me on activating my mobile app, a rotund woman, let's call her Madam B, who was being attended to by another customer care representative started screaming. Her ululation pierced through the quietness of the banking hall, drawing attention to her direction.
She was clad in a black overflowing gown, misery and sadness all stamped on her face. She fell on the ground blubbering and bemoaning her fate as other concerned people rallied around her, consoling her.
On further verification, I discovered that Madam B's account has been cleared by scammers. She had lost her phone last weekend to pickpockets at Ariaria Market, Aba. She was unbothered since it was not a smart phone and is easily replaceable.
What she didn't know was that all the this while, the thief had used up over 100, 000 naira on her bank account to buy up airtime. It was when she wanted to withdraw some money that Monday morning that she was told she didn't have sufficient fund. To make matters worse, the customer care representative, though saddened by her plight told her that nothing could be done about it. The poor woman wailed out her eyes that day. I really felt for her.
Madam B's condition is just one among thousands of people who have lost their money whenever their phones get lost. In 2018, Instablog, a renowned blog in the country wrote about a man that had his money cleared by these hardened criminals. The man literally plopped to the ground, writhing in pains inconsolably.
Both Madam B, the man above and thousands of others that have been scammed when their phones got missing all have one thing in common. They failed to lock their SIM cards which are mainly used by those tech rogues to wipe off bank accounts.
You may ask why sim cards are vulnerable or mostly used by phone robbers to fleece their victims of money in their bank accounts. Just relax, I will explain everything in detail and why you should not hesitate to have your SIM cards locked.
All the commercial banks in the country have unique USSDs which enable their customers access mobile banking quickly. Sadly, the USSD has become one of the many ways exploited by phone thieves to clear the bank accounts of their many ignorant and unsuspecting victims.
If one's phone is stolen by these wicked criminals, they would first, remove the SIM card from the phone and insert it into another phone. They do not need your phone's password to have access to your bank accounts. So long as the sim card is linked to your bank accounts, if nothing is done as quickly as possible, your money would vanish in no distant time.
After they've inserted the sim card in another phone, they would dial *556*0# and your Bank Verification Number (BVN) would pop up immediately. Armed with your BVN, they can now use it to activate your bank's USSD if it's not in place and then have direct access to your account. If your USSD is already working, they just need to type in your bank short codes and before you say Jack Robinson, all the money in your account is gone.
What the normally do is to use it to buy recharge cards or purchase things online with the stolen SIM cards. Once they've exhausted the money in all your bank accounts, they discard the SIM cards and hop onto the next unsuspecting victim. Remember that your BVN is linked to all your accounts. Within minutes, they can clear all the money in all your accounts and believe me, there is nothing your bank can do about it, unless you follow the right procedure. I will address that in subsequent posts.
However, if you've locked your SIM card, there's nothing they could ever do to have access to your account because when they insert the SIM into another phone, the SIM card would request for the password to have it unlocked. Once the person fails to put in the right password thrice, the SIM card automatically blocks itself. Remember that your phone password is useless in this scheme. They simply remove your sim from the phone and put into their numerous phones.
However, if you lock your SIM card, it implies that even if your switch off your phone, you would always be asked for your SIM code which is just four unique numbers. With your SIM code in place, no Jupiter can access your SIM. If they try to guess it thrice, it will automatically lock itself and for you to unlock it, you need to visit the office of the SIM's network provider with the SIM pack. Also, remember that you must convince those customer care agents beyond reasonable doubt that the SIM belongs to you.
How then do you lock your SIM?
It's just a simple and direct process. Just follow these steps.
First of all, you need to know the default SIM PIN of your SIM card. It could be easily found on your SIM card pack. However, if you've lost your SIM pack, just proceed to the office of your network provider and retrieve it. Ask them to reset it for you using your own unique pin.
After you've got your unique SIM pin, follow these steps to activate your SIM lock:
1. Go to Phone Settings.
2. Tap on More tabs or simply scroll down to select Security as the case may be.
3. Tap on Lock SIM card.
4. Enter your SIM pin
5. Then select okay.
With these steps, your SIM card is locked and your personal information and bank details safeguarded.
Please, you help only lock the SIM cards with a smart phone. I'd advise you to do these for your parents who are not tech savvy to protect their life-savings in the bank. I have seen cases where many parents fall into depression, long sicknesses or simply pass away because their sweat was stolen by disgruntled elements. Don't create room for this again. Help and lock their SIM cards to protect their happiness tomorrow.
Please, share and teach others too. If you have any question, feel free to ask, I'm answer them. Thank you all.
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