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Don’t toss your old SIM card away: Destroy it!

By Shopify API March 26, 2019

sim card destruction

The average person changes their cell phone and associated SIM card once every two years[1]. Did you know that this little card SIM card could cause you all sorts of problems if it fell into the wrong hands, ranging from identity theft to fraud?  Sadly most people will simply toss a SIM card into the trash or perhaps cut it two and think that they are safe. But are they? This post will look at the ways that criminals can use a SIM card and suggest sensible measures to keep you safe from the threat. A SIM card is a data storage device. It can store information including text messages, emails and contacts.  But the main purpose of a SIM card is to identify the user to the hand set. It contains details of the service plan and carrier that the owner is on. This is why you can use one SIM card in a number of different phones.

SIM Cards and Data Theft

The simple message is: if you would not wish to reveal your contacts, emails and text messages to the world, then you should not throw your SIM card into the garbage. Imagine the scenario for a second. A professional criminal gets a hold of a few emails from your boss via a discarded SIM card, they then carry out a targeted phishing attack that allows them to install malware on you or your firm’s computer systems. A phishing attack is an email that looks authentic (if they already have a number of actual examples it is going to look pretty authentic) that then causes you to open an attachment and install some malware. This is then used to steal either your identity or perhaps sensitive data from your company.

SIM Cards and Bank Fraud

The other danger related to a discarded SIM card is the possibility that it could be used by criminals to side step the security protocols used by banks in managing online accounts.  The various scams often include obtaining the IMEI number, the number that identifies your phone and then, by various means, having a one use only online banking password sent to them to allow them to take over your account. This means throwing a SIM card in the trash could be a very costly thing to do if it fell into the wrong hands.

Destroying a SIM Card

So how do you safely dispose of a SIM card? As with other portable data storage devices the best way is to ensure the data is completely destroyed to high security standards is to disintegrate your SIM card.  Check out our disintegrators here.  No security requirement?  SIM cards can also be destroyed with the appropriate paper shredder.  We offer insight on data destruction and can help you select the appropriate equipment for office and personal data destruction use specifically.    

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