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SIM Swap Fraud


What is a SIM Swap?

SIM Swap is a service which allows you to replace your SIM card and keep your existing phone number at the same time. You may need to change your SIM when:

  • You want to move your existing phone number to a different phone provider,
  • Your current SIM card won’t work on your new phone, for example, because it’s too old or too large.
  • You have lost your phone and SIM card and you want to retain your existing phone number
  • Your existing SIM card is damaged and needs to be replaced.

Please note this doesn’t include transferring your existing SIM card into a new mobile device.

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What is SIM Swap Fraud?

SIM Swap fraud is specific to mobile devices. The fraudster approaches your mobile phone service provider pretending to be you and asks them to switch your existing phone number to another SIM card.

Once this is completed, they can intercept all SMS messages sent to you, including security messages sent by PTSB when you access Open24 or transact online.

Under Payment Services Directive (PSD2), the bank must confirm possession of a customer’s device before we send them an SMS with a Security Code. This is a requirement under the Strong Customer Authentication process to protect customers from fraud. Read more about PSD2 here.

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5 Ways to Protect Yourself Against SIM Swap Fraud

Fortunately, there are ways in which you and your mobile phone service providers can help protect against becoming a victim of SIM Swap fraud.

  1. Online behaviour: Beware of phishing emails that try to access your personal data. Don’t click on links in emails from people you don’t know. PTSB and mobile phone service providers will never ask for personal or financial information via text or email, so never give it out.
  2. Account security: Strengthen your online banking and mobile phone account security with unique, strong passwords and strong security questions and answers that only you know.
  3. PIN codes: Use them on your mobile devices. It provides an additional layer of security.
  4. Authentication apps: For additional security, many apps and websites allow you to use an authentication app such as Google Authenticator, which gives you two-factor authentication but connects to your physical device rather than your phone number.
  5. Behavioural analysis technology: For your reassurance, banks can use technology that analyses customer behaviour to help them detect devices at risk, warning them not to send security information such as SMS passwords to potential scammers.

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What you should do if you think you’ve been scammed

If you have any concerns you should contact your mobile phone service provider immediately to confirm whether a SIM Swap has been undertaken. If it is confirmed you must phone your bank immediately and follow their instructions to prevent financial loss.

Call the Fraud Service on 0818 50 24 24.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I have changed my SIM card or mobile phone service provider, what do I do?

For security reasons access to your online banking will be blocked for 24 hours. You will need to wait for 24 hours before you can log back into your Open24 account.

If I call the Contact Centre, can PTSB remove the block on my account?

In line with industry security protocol, a block cannot be removed under any circumstances. This block is in place to prevent scammers gaining access to your bank account. If you are unsure when this 24-hour hold took place please call us on 0818 50 24 24.

During the block, can PTSB complete an action for me, e.g. amend a payee?

No. Because there is a hold on your account, PTSB cannot perform any of your online banking requests, whether over the phone or in-branch. If you would like to withdraw cash, please attend a full service branch and provide the appropriate photo identification to the branch staff.

If I have not changed my SIM Card what should I do?

If your account has been blocked but you did not change your SIM card, then you must contact PTSB to ensure no third party access has taken place on your account.

If no third party access has taken place, we can confirm over the phone whether it is a bank or mobile phone service provider issue.

You may need to contact your mobile phone service provider if the issue is on their side.

Issues include lack of network service, providing multiple SIMS, and providers who offer low cost plans that do not always support premium numbers including:

  • Lyca
  • GoMo
  • PostFone
  • Tesco Mobile

How a provider handles their SMS or telephony service is outside of PTSB’s control. 

Important Information

PTSB cannot overwrite this 24-hour block. 

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