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Are travel eSIMs more susceptible to fraud?

Nope, they aren't. You can use them with a peace of mind.

· 3 min read

With reports of eSIMs being exploited for financial frauds, are you now having second thoughts about using travel eSIMs for your connectivity needs? The good news is that it is safe to use a travel eSIM, and using a travel eSIM does not open you up to financial frauds - let's take a look at why!


How are eSIMs being exploited for financial frauds?

Financial frauds involving eSIMs are primarily carried out through the means of impersonation and SIM swapping.

The modus operandi typically involve bad actors stealing your personal information and impersonating you, and eventually getting control of your phone number - typically after they have successfully convinced your telco that they are indeed, you.

Once they get your phone number, they will then be able to receive your messages and OTPs, allowing them to carry out financial transactions on your accounts.

Are eSIMs more susceptible to SIM swapping than physical SIMs?

Not exactly.

Impersonation and SIM swapping are not new, and definitely not unique to eSIMs.

eSIM technology does not inherently make it less secure than physical SIMs. But, the ease of activation for eSIMs does indeed make it more convenient for hackers to take over your phone number.

After all, instead of having to get hold of a physical SIM card, what they have to do is to simply scan a QR code to install and activate the eSIM.

However, that said, while it could be easier for the hackers to install and activate the eSIM, there is a large dependency on the security measures and processes that your telco has in place to verify your identity, and to ensure that your number does not get taken over by bad actors.

Have an ease of mind when using travel eSIMs

Simply using an eSIM does not make you susceptible to fraud or identity theft. Installing an eSIM in your device also does not compromise your personal information or phone data, so you can install the eSIM with an ease of mind.

Travel eSIMs are mostly one-time use, where eSIM transfer between devices is not supported, eliminating the possibility of your eSIM being locked out because someone else is using it on another device.

Travel eSIMs also rarely require you to submit any form of identity documents, eliminating the risk that your ID documents fall into the wrong hands.

Furthermore, travel eSIMs are mostly data-only, and often do not come with a phone number — essentially meaning you wouldn't be using a temporary or recycled number for account creation, minimising the risk of any form of account takeover.

What about tourist SIM cards? Are they safe?

If you are planning to get a tourist SIM card when traveling, you might be wondering if that would expose you to any security risks.

Generally, tourist SIM cards are rather low-risk, in that you typically will only be using them for your travels, and wouldn't be using it for any sensitive transactions. Hence, even if your SIM card unfortunately gets SIM-swapped, it is unlikely to cause much damage.

That said, there are some best practices that you should adopt when picking up a tourist SIM card.

1. Identity Protection

In an attempt to curb spam and hackers, many countries now require a form of identity verification when purchasing a tourist SIM card. This means that you are likely to have to provide a copy of your passport when you make the purchase.

In such scenarios where you need to submit identity verification, make sure that you are buying your SIM card from an authorised and legitimate source. You don't want copies of your identity documents to lend in the wrong hands!

In the event where you are using a physical tourist SIM card, or if you are using a travel eSIM that provides you with a local phone number, it is important to be aware that this number that is assigned to you will be recycled.

So if you will be using that temporary number to download apps and create accounts, it is recommended that you do not link your credit cards to those accounts. Or, in the event that you do, make sure to remove them and delete your account before the end of your trip!

Get a Nomad travel eSIM for your next trip

Nomad offers data plans in over 170 countries, and you can be sure to find one that is suitable for your travel needs. And if you will be traveling across multiple countries, there are also regional plans available so you can stay seamlessly connected as you hop between countries. Data plans are available from as low as $1.50/GB.

The networks that Nomad's eSIMs use for each plan are stated on the plan details on the web store and apps, so you can check which networks are supported before buying your plan.

And, if you are unsure about how much data you need for your trip, Nomad also has a Data Calculator that can help you find the plan that is most suitable for you. Also check out our blog post on data-saving tips when traveling to keep your data usage in check when traveling.

Nomad also has a 24-hour customer support team. So, in the event where you face difficulties while using your eSIM, rest assured there will be someone available to help you resolve your issues!