Hackers steal life savings from 2 women’s bank accounts’ in ‘SIM Swapping’ scam

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Online banking has become a breeze with many people being able to access their accounts from their mobile phones. Imagine logging in and finding your entire savings missing.

Jackie Berman, a New York resident, claims that a hacker stole her Citibank savings card with more than $26,000 in it.

“It’s been really horrible — the entire experience,”Berman said.

Heidi Diamond, TV executive says she experienced the same thing. The scammers stole over $200,000.

“I freaked, and I went running to the nearest bank,”Diamond said.

The women’s ordeals are two instances of a new scam known as SIM swapping.

This happens when hackers steal your personal data online. Next, they contact your mobile carrier to trick them into activating your SIM card. Once this happens, scammers can take control of your phone and passwords.

In pretending to be you, the fraudster then contacts your bank and transfers all your cash out of your account.

After Inside Edition contacted Citibank, things quickly changed — at least for Heidi Diamond.

“I do believe it’s thanks to Inside Edition I got my money back,”Diamond said. 

They cut her a check for the full amount she lost — all $200,025.

Jackie Berman, however, hasn’t had as much luck. Four months after she first reported the fraud, she claims she is still missing all of that money.

“Citibank has now denied me not once, not twice, not three times, but five times. And every single time my heart stops, because I’m thinking, ‘How can they just think I’m just going to allow a criminal to have my $26,000?’”Berman said.

Though both women say their money was taken by a SIM scam, Citibank did not tell Inside Edition why Diamond’s money was returned while Berman’s was not. However, the bank says it is sympathetic to fraud victims and that it tried its best to recover funds from Berman. Each case is unique.

Inside Edition’s complete Citi statement

“Modern financial scams targeting Americas of all ages and backgrounds are sophisticated operations and we have a great deal of sympathy for those who fall victim to fraud. We have seen a growing number of scams, ranging from phishing texts, to robocalls and internet and email fraud, and we are deeply committed to doing our part to protect our customers from financial fraud. If a customer receives a suspicious unsolicited message, we urge them to not provide personal or account information and to immediately contact us directly via our Citibank app, website (citi.com), or by calling the customer service number listed on our website. We did everything possible to seek the recovery of funds that were taken from Ms. Berman by fraudsters using her personal and account information.”

Citibank also offers some tips to help you keep your accounts safe.

  • <em>If you receive a one-time passcode you didn&rsquo;t request, don&rsquo;t give the code to anyone who contacts you for it.</em>
  • <em>Use known links to access businesses online.</em>
  • <em>Verify any phone, text or email contacts are legitimate before sharing information such as your account number, security word, PIN, User ID or password.</em>
  • <em>Be leery of requests to download apps to fix issues or that allow access to your device.</em>
  • <em>For more information about how you can protect yourself against fraud, and how Citi makes your security a priority, visit: <a href=”https://www.citi.com/fraudprevention” rel=”” target=”_blank”>www.citi.com/fraudprevention.com</a></em>

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