#FraudFriday-Cell Phone Scam

#FraudFriday-Cell Phone Scam

With a new year comes new scams. The latest scam circulating is stealing your phone number, phone service, your money, and personal information. A scammer will obtain your name and phone number through the internet, then does a search attached to the name and cell phone number and tries to gather as much personal identifiable information (PII) as possible about you from various websites. PII may include name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, and other information that can be used for identity theft.

The way the scam works: After obtaining information via the internet, scammers will call your cell phone provider and impersonate you using your personal information. They inform the cell phone company that your phone was stolen and request the number be “ported” with another provider and device. A thief may go as far as walking into a retail store to purchase a new cell phone with the hopes the request is fulfilled and forgo formal verification. 

Once the number has been ported to a new device, the thief can access and gain entry to accounts that require additional authorization such as a code texted directly to the phone for security verification. 

The Better Business Bureau offers these tips to help protect yourself from this specific type of scam:
• Inquire with your wireless provider about port-out authorization. Every major wireless has some sort of additional security for accounts or for port-out authorization that customers can set up, like a unique pin, or add verification question, which will make it more difficult for someone to port-out your phone. Contact your mobile provider and speak to them specifically about porting and/or port out security on your account.
• Watch out for unexpected “Emergency Calls Only” status. Call your mobile phone company if your phone suddenly switches to "emergency call service only" or something similar. That's what happens when your phone number has been transferred to another phone. 
• Be vigilant in about communications you receive. Watch out for phishing attempts, alert messages from financial institutions, texts in response to two-factor authorization requests.