Samsung Swaps eSIMs of Customers before Phones are Delivered; SIM Swap Fraud Panic Ensues

Many people have sung the praises of eSIMs, but every change in technology has some drawbacks. Customers of T-Mobile USA who pre-ordered a new Samsung Galaxy S23 handset (pictured above) were made aware of one risk involving eSIMs when they lost access to any service through their existing phones. Most of them worried they had fallen victim to SIM swap fraud, as exemplified by a Redditor called Icy-Tale-7163:

So, I just got the dreaded email from T-Mobile telling me I successfully swapped the SIM on my main line. Sure enough, my phone lost service.

I called T-Mobile on my spouse’s line and the rep immediately began the process to swap the SIM back. Ironically, the lady had an issue swapping my SIM back, because I had the SIM lock protection turned on. Nevertheless, they restored my service within a few minutes.

Interestingly, the rep told me it was an automated system that swapped my account, and it was not done at a store. So she speculated it could be a screw up on Samsung’s part related to my recent pre-order of the S23.

I’m not sure that really makes sense, but figured I’d post here to see if anyone else had a similar issue today or if it’s just another example of SIM swap fraud. Thanks.

Other Redditors who purchased the Samsung Galaxy S23 confirmed that the same thing happened to them.

I also ordered the S23 Ultra on and my line got cut about 20 mins ago. I think Samsung scanned to activate the sim they’re throwing in and now it’s active on the new S23 Ultra that we don’t have yet.

Had this happen too. Was definitely Samsung. Kinda a pain since the phone won’t show for weeks

This happened to me at the same time this post was made. i have the samsung galaxy s23 ultra also preordered from I called Tmobile and the rep guy was confused as to why the sim changed (as if i made the request).

Same thing happened to me. I just pre-ordered the S23. When I received the email about my SIM changing I somehow just brushed it off as part of the pre-order process. It wasn’t until I noticed my texts weren’t going through and had 0 bars that it clicked that my number was actually swapped over to a phone that hasn’t shipped yet.

The suspicion that Samsung had made a mistake was confirmed by The Mobile Report when they were shown a copy of a warning shared within T-Mobile’s customer services function.

On a small batch of devices, Samsung activated eSIM early when processing the order…

Telco customers could do without yet more reasons to worry about the safety and security of their services. Many T-Mobile subscribers would already have been fearful of a SIM swap following yet another privacy breach. Controls should be implemented to prevent handset suppliers arbitrarily choosing when to use an eSIM to commandeer an existing customer’s service. If the timing of a transition to a new eSIM is not carefully managed then we can all expect premature e-activation to become a common complaint.

BluGem Managing Director John Davies will discuss the risk implications of eSIMs during an upcoming episode of The Communications Risk Show. You can see which other expert guests have agreed to be interviewed for our new live streaming series by looking here.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.