• Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert

Cyber Criminals are Hijacking Mobile Phone Accounts: 4 Tips to Keep You Safe



Identity thieves and cyber criminals are always looking for new ways to take advantage of consumers and the latest scheme involves your mobile account.  It seems like every week there is a new headline about security breaches and company hacks, but let’s face it, hacking is a lucrative business which makes you a big target.  The problems is many of you don't realize that you are at risk for cyber attacks because many of you feel they you don't have anything worth stealing. 

When a hacker takes control of your mobile account, there are several things they can do to take advantage of you. They can buy new equipment like smartphones and tablets, which are billed to your account. Once they get your equipment, they turn around and sell them. With access to your account, hackers can add additional lines and use them, racking up large bills.  They can purchase wifi hotspots and sap your data package by using the hotspots for free Internet.  They can get access to important data such as banking account and credit card information which can be used to bleed your accounts dry.

How do thieves get access to your mobile account?

Most accounts are hijacked because people have fallen for a phone scam where a scammer calls and impersonates a representative from your mobile company. They use a pretense that your account has been hacked and trick the user into giving out important information. Email phishing scams are a popular way for hackers to get account information. To make things harder for you, there are many websites that will identify which mobile carrier a phone number is associated with no charge.  These websites will give your identity and your location for free.  As a result of all of the hacks in recent months, your information could be for sell on the dark web that hackers can purchase. Hackers can also look at your social media accounts to look for information that can help them figure out security questions that will give them access to your mobile account.

What You Can Do To Protect Your Mobile Account?

Being proactive is the best way to keep your account safe.  Take the following steps today.

  1. Create a secure PIN or Password for your account. One of the most important steps you can take is to establish a password or PIN that is required before making changes to your mobile account. Contact your mobile carrier to find out what method you should use.

  2. Beware of emails and calls from your mobile company.Your Mobile provider will never call or email you about your account. If someone calls your office asking for details about your mobile account, hang up.

  3. Consider having mobile statements mailed to your home or office. E-statements are handy, but they put your mobile account at risk. If someone hacks into your email, they can get access to your monthly statements. Considering that your statements list all of the phone numbers on your account and your account number, it’s the last thing you want hackers to get access to.

  4. If you can help it, don't publicize your mobile number. Yes, your mobile number may be your main contact number.  Watch who you share your number with.  Many agencies sell your data to other companies who may post  that information online. Also, many solo businesses are tempted to use their mobile number as their primary number.Yes, it’s one less bill, but it also puts you at greater risk as your number is shared on the web as you promote your business on your web site and on social media. Consider using getting VOIP (Voice or IP Service) such as Vonage as your main number.You can also get a Google Voice number as well. Both options allow you to make business calls from your mobile device without sharing your mobile number.

Having your mobile phone account hijacked can turn into hours of wasted productivity.  Following the above steps should help you stay safe from this latest cyber threat. You always need to be vigilant against hackers and cyber crime to avoid putting yourself at risk of major financial loss and having email, social network, and other accounts compromised.

How else can you keep up with the latest tech tips and cyber security alerts? Subscribe to my YouTube channel ‘Burton Kelso’ There are hundreds of videos designed to help you get the most out of the technology you use in your home or business. Burton Kelso is the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. They offer tech support to homes and businesses all over the Kansas City Metro. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on his YouTube channel. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com  


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