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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How To Protect Yourself From Phone Porting Fraud

You should know that protecting your social security numbers, bank account numbers, pins, credit cards, and passwords is key to stopping identity thieves and hackers. But have you attempted to keep your mobile number safe from prying eyes? Your telephone number is used to validate your identity to access your online accounts, and fraudsters are developing more sophisticated attacks to take advantage. Phone port fraud is the latest scam crooks are using to gain access to your personal information. Read on to find out how this works and how to keep yourself safe.

What is phone porting fraud? Phone porting fraud is when your mobile phone number is ported to a new telecommunications provider without your consent. A phone port can be initiated with a criminal providing your name, mobile number, email, and your date of birth.

If your phone number has been illegally ported, you lose mobile phone reception, access to network data, and the ability to call and text. The crook who illegally ported your number can now text, and make calls from your phone number and is the new owner of your number. This also means cyber thieves can log into your online accounts from which you setup two factor authentication and use your mobile phone number to reset your passwords for those accounts and take over those accounts.

How do criminals know my personal information? Cybercrooks may have obtained your information in several different ways. You may have clicked a phishing link through an email or text message and entered sensitive information, or your emails may have been compromised. Cyberthieves may have accessed personal information you may have accessible on social media profiles. They may have also accessed your information via ‘social engineering’ through a phone call or messaging app. ‘Social engineering’ is the act of manipulating people to give up confidential or sensitive information. Crooks may have also located your information on the dark web from a variety of large data breaches in which your information may have been leaked.

Signs You May be a victim of a port fraud.

  • Your service is suddenly disconnected and showing ‘SOS only’.

  • Unexpected texts from your provider advising that you have requested your number to be ported to another network.

How to prevent phone porting.

  • Stop giving out your mobile number to the public. Only share it with close family and friends.

  • Setup a WhatsApp or Google Voice number to share with the public.

  • Contact your phone provider and increase your security questions to unique answers only you would know.

  • Remove your email, mobile number, and date of birth from your social media profiles as well as any other online profiles.

  • Use two-step verifications to log into your email account and banking apps.

  • Never click a link you receive via email or text message.

  • Be aware of cold calls where a scammer will manipulate you to give up personal information such as your banking credentials, credit card, address, or date of birth.

What do to if you suspect your phone has been ported.

  • Contact your mobile phone provider immediately.

  • Contact your financial institutions.

  • Change your passwords to online banking, email and social media accounts.

Hopefully, this will give you tips to help you stay safe from phone porting scams.  If you have any questions, please reach out. I'm always available.

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