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5G scam alert: Scammers are stealing bank details in the name of SIM upgrade

Airtel and Jio 5G services are gradually rolling out to users in select cities. While the connectivity option is yet to reach customers on full scale, scammers are taking benefit of the situation. Now, various state police departments are warning against ‘5G SIM scams’. Their cybersecurity units are asking customers to be vigilant about text messages that ask users to upgrade their 4G SIM cards to 5G SIM. However, there’s no need to upgrade SIM cards to use 5G.

For instance, Hyderabad Cyberabad Police (cybercrime unit) department has issued a warning on Twitter. In Telegu, the unit notes, “Cyber fraudsters sending links in the name of 5G. If you open the link, there is a risk of hacking the phone. If you are not alert, you will be in danger. Accounts are being emptied by sending links to update 4G to 5G SIM. Links are being sent to mobile users with the names of the respective telecom companies”.

On the other hand, the Gurugram police department has also issued a warning against 5G scams. As reported by Hindustan Times, the department asked residents not to share their one-time passwords (OTPs) with any telecaller as they can wipe out their bank accounts in the process.

Quoting Upasna Singh, deputy commissioner of police, the report highlights, “Since news of the 5G rollout in Gurugram came out, the number of these incidents has gone up. However, we have asked residents to be vigilant and to not share OTPs with any stranger”.

It appears scammers’ modus operandi remains the same. Earlier, many attackers pushed out text SMS to users claiming free KBC rewards. Similarly, people have received text SMS claiming that their electricity connection would be cancelled due to late payment. These messages typically contain a web link, designed to extract users’ personal information, such as bank details, phone numbers, and addresses. In the case of 5G, scammers are asking users to upgrade their SIM cards. With the fake promise, they are extracting personal details to steal money from the bank account.

However, readers must note that telcos have repeatedly said that a 5G connection will work on compatible smartphones with the old 4G SIM. Currently, Airtel 5G is rolling out in eight cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Siliguri, Nagpur and Varanasi. Jio has said its 5G will reach users in Varanasi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Delhi by Diwali. Currently, Jio is testing 5G services with select customers in these circles on a trial basis. India Today

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