Ontario Police Warn of ‘SIM Swapping’ Scam Affecting Personal Email, Financial Accounts

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is warning the public about a recent “SIM swap” scam affecting people in the province.

According to a new report from CTV, police say the fraudsters are using SIM swapping or phone number porting to gain access to victims’ email, social media, and financial accounts.

A “fraudster” will impersonate a person and call their mobile service provider to report a lost or stolen phone, said Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Serious Fraud Office.

Then, the scammer will link the victim’s phone number to a new SIM card and device that they control, then downloading a series of popular apps and selecting the “forgot password” button on all of them. 

If an account is connected to a phone number or email address, the fraudster will then receive a verification code using it to confirm ownership of the account by creating a new password and taking over the victim’s accounts, police said. From there, the scammers can gain direct access to victims’ personal information, calendar, contacts and more, police said.

“Fraudsters may empty your bank accounts, apply for credit in your good name, or impersonate you to defraud your entire contact list,” said the OPP, along with Ontario’s Serious Fraud Office and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, in a press release.

If you ever lose your phone, users should contact their service provider immediately, said the OPP.

“And go with your gut,” police said. “If a message seems fishy, it probably is.”