Phone Porting & SIM Scams a Growing Threat

Published On February 20, 2020 | By Tom Huskerson | News and Analysis, Now You Know

Phone porting scams are have become a real menace to anyone with a mobile phone. That’s pretty much everybody.

What is phone porting and how do you protect yourself is the next question you should be asking.

Also known as the ‘port-out scam’ the problem has gotten so bad that T-Mobile, one of the nations biggest service providers, has issued a warning.

Phone porting is when you switch from one carrier to another while keeping you old phone number.

And Its So Easy

Here is the frightening part. A scammer simply walks into a phone store, or calls them, and pretends to be you. Unless you have the proper security measures in place the scammer can easily steal your phone number and enroll with a new carrier. You are effectively shut off from your phone service and he takes control of your number. Yes, the whole process is that easy.

SIM Swapping

But it gets worse. Another type of porting scam is called a SIM swap scam or SIM hijacking. It works very much the same way. But instead of porting your number to a new carrier, the scammer, again pretending to be you, requests a new SIM card for your account. Once they get the SIM, they control your number and more.

Now the scammer has your hijacked your number and shut off your cell service. Now think about this; the scammer controls your phone and gets access to all your calls and text messages. If you are like everyone else with a smartphone this is major blow to your life. Are you sick yet?

Remember two factor authentication you were told to use to protect your online accounts? Guess what? If you use your phone number to receive text messages with security codes when you log into your bank account those message are now going to the scammer. That person now has access to your email, bank account, credit cards, and other super sensitive info.

How do I protect myself you ask?

Its really pretty easy. You make a quick phone call to customer service today, or tweak to your account online.

Add a security PIN to your account. The process maybe different for every carrier but a PIN will be required to make changes to your account. That includes porting your number to a new carrier or requesting a new SIM card. Your account is now secure against both port-out and SIM swap scams. Good stuff.

Most carriers should let you do this online under some sort of account security setting. If you can’t find this info online, just give them a quick call and let them know you want to add PIN security to your account. This PIN will be different from your password used when you log into your account. This PIN is specifically used when you walk into a store or call customer service to make changes.

Remember, just like passwords, choose something that isn’t easy to guess. Don’t make silly mistakes like using your birthday or dog’s name. Scammers are good at guessing that kind of stuff. Once it’s in place, though, you should be better secured against this type of scam happening to you.

Now you know.

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About The Author

Tom Huskerson Bio Born in Richmond Virginia Tom Huskerson is a military veteran who settled in California after his discharge. Tom attended Santa Barbara City College where he began his writing career as a campus reporter. He worked as an intern news reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press writing feature stories before moving on to San Francisco. At San Francisco State University Tom studied broadcast communications and began to focus on the Internet. He completed his graduate thesis on Internet advertising. Tom was the first student to ever focus on the Internet as a graduate student at San Francisco State University. After graduation he went to work for Zona Research in California’s Silicone Valley. As a research associate Tom supported senior analyst writing on the latest developments in the Internet industry. During the dot com boom Tom worked for several web businesses as a market researcher and analyst. As a writer and researcher Tom has authored various technical works including a training program for Charles Schwab security. Other projects included professional presentations on workplace violence and hiring security contractors. Tom has also written both fiction and non-fiction works and blogging for a travel website. He has published two books of short stories and completed two novels. Tom is the owner of Scribe of Life Literature and Tom is not the chief editor for the OnTechStreet. com. A news and information blog that focuses on tech news for African-Americans. The blog is the result of his desire to inform the African American community of the dangers and benefits of the cyber age. In his blog Tom reports on information security, new and analysis, scams and hoaxes, legal happenings and various topics that arise from the age of information. Tom believes that technology is a necessary tool for black people and they should know what is happening. Tom writes believing that techno speak is for the professional and that valuable information can be communicated using plain language. As a result he has embraced the motto, Less Tech, More Knowledge.

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