In an increasingly digital world, our personal information is more vulnerable than ever before. The convenience of smartphones and online services have increased the potential for identity theft and cybercrimes.
Today, phone porting has become one of the many avenues by which you can become a victim. This scheme can have devastating consequences for individuals’ personal and financial lives.
What is Phone Porting?
Phone porting is the process of transferring a phone number from one service provider or carrier to another. You’ve most likely already given your phone number to your contacts, so changing it is the last option. With phone porting, you or your business can change or upgrade your telecommunication provider without switching numbers. At your client’s end, everything continues to operate normally, while you or your business can enjoy the benefits of a new telecommunication provider that supports your operations.
What happens when you’ve been compromised?
With this scheme, the attacker will transfer the victim’s mobile phone number to a different SIM card. This enables the attacker to gain access to the victim’s incoming calls and messages, often used as a second-factor authentication method for various online accounts. By intercepting these communications, hackers can reset passwords, bypass security measures, and effectively take control of the victim’s digital presence.
The distress signals, such as “SOS” messages, received by victims whose phones have been ported without authorisation, are a clear indication that something is wrong. Once an attacker has control of a victim’s phone number, they can proceed to access financial accounts, personal data, and other sensitive information. Banking details can be altered, funds can be transferred out, and personal data can be exploited for various fraudulent activities. In many cases, victims may not even realise the extent of the damage until it’s too late.
What can you do to protect yourself from Phone Porting Fraud?
If you suspect that you may be a victim of this attack, here are some things you can do to protect yourself from further harm:
• Contact Your Mobile Carrier: Get in touch with your mobile carrier’s customer support to report the issue. They can help you regain control of your phone number and provide further guidance.
• Change Passwords: Change the passwords for your online accounts, especially those associated with financial and sensitive information.
• Enable Stronger Security: Consider using more secure methods for two-factor authentication, such as authentication apps or hardware tokens, rather than relying solely on SMS-based verification.
• Monitor Accounts: Continuously monitor your financial and online accounts for any unusual activities.
• Secure Your Device: Update your device’s software, change your lock screen PIN or password, and regularly review the apps installed on your device.
• Avoid Sharing Personal Information: Be cautious about sharing personal information online or over the phone. You might fall for some phishing attempts that aim to extract sensitive information.
The increasing prevalence of mobile phone porting as a method of identity theft calls for heightened awareness and proactive measures. If you notice some signs that you may have been compromised, take immediate action to protect your digital identity.