Could Your Coinbase Account Be at Risk of a SIM Swap Attack?

Imagine waking up one day to find your Coinbase account emptied and your digital assets gone. You haven’t shared your password, and your devices seem secure. How did this happen? The culprit might be a SIM swap attack, a growing threat that targets your mobile phone to steal your digital identity and assets.

This article will explore how SIM swap attacks work, why they’re particularly dangerous for Coinbase users, and what you can do to protect yourself so that you don’t end up with a hacked Coinbase account.

What is a SIM Swap Attack?

A SIM swap attack, also known as SIM hijacking, occurs when someone convinces your mobile carrier to transfer your phone number to a new SIM card. Once the attacker has control of your phone number, they can receive all your calls and texts, including two-factor authentication (2FA) codes sent to your phone.

sim swap attack

How Does it Work?

  • Gathering Personal Information: Attackers collect personal information about you, such as your name, address, phone number, and sometimes even your Social Security number. They gather this data through phishing, social engineering, or buying it from the dark web.
  • Impersonating You: The attacker contacts your mobile carrier, posing as you. They use the collected information to convince the carrier’s customer service representative that they are you.
  • SIM Card Activation: The attacker requests a new SIM card, claiming they lost their phone or it was stolen. The carrier deactivates your current SIM card and activates the new one in the attacker’s possession.
  • Accessing Accounts: With your phone number, the attacker can reset passwords and bypass 2FA on various accounts, including your Coinbase account. They receive the 2FA codes sent via SMS, allowing them to log in and steal your assets.

Why Coinbase Users Are at Risk

Coinbase, a popular platform for buying, selling, and storing cryptocurrencies, requires robust security measures. However, the reliance on SMS-based 2FA can make users vulnerable to SIM swap attacks. Here’s why Coinbase users should be particularly vigilant:

  • High-Value Targets: Cryptocurrency accounts can hold significant value, making them attractive targets for attackers.
  • SMS-Based 2FA: While Coinbase supports multiple 2FA methods, many users rely on SMS for convenience. This method is vulnerable to SIM swap attacks.
  • Ease of Access: Once an attacker has control of your phone number, they can easily reset your Coinbase password and gain full access to your account.

How to Protect Yourself

two-factor authentication

Use App-Based 2FA

Switch from SMS-based 2FA to app-based 2FA solutions like Google Authenticator or Authy. These apps generate codes on your device, making them immune to SIM swap attacks.

Secure Your Mobile Account

Set a PIN or password on your mobile account to prevent unauthorized changes. Also, enable account activity alerts with your mobile carrier to receive notifications of any changes.

Request that your mobile carrier place a “do not port” restriction on your account, requiring additional verification for SIM card changes.

Enhance Coinbase Security

  • Enable 2FA: Ensure you have 2FA enabled on your Coinbase account and use an app-based method.
  • Use Strong Passwords: Use unique, complex passwords for your Coinbase and email accounts. Avoid using the same password across multiple accounts.
  • Monitor Account Activity: Regularly check your account for any suspicious activity. Enable account activity alerts if available.

Be Wary of Phishing

Attackers often use phishing emails or texts to gather personal information. Be cautious about sharing personal details and verify the authenticity of any requests.

What to Do If You’re a Victim

what to do if you be victim

Immediately contact your mobile carrier to regain control of your phone number. Inform them of the SIM swap attack.

Change the passwords for all your accounts, starting with your email and Coinbase accounts. Ensure 2FA is enabled and consider switching to an app-based method if you haven’t already.

Finally, keep a close eye on your accounts for any further suspicious activity. Report any unauthorized transactions to the relevant service providers.


SIM swap attacks are a significant threat, especially for Coinbase users holding valuable digital assets. By understanding how these attacks work and taking proactive steps to secure your accounts, you can significantly reduce your risk.

Use app-based 2FA, secure your mobile account, and stay vigilant against phishing attempts. Protecting your digital wealth requires constant vigilance and a commitment to robust security practices.