Think your cell phone is safe from hackers? Even if your phone is safely in your pocket, hand, or home, you might still be at risk! Victims of thieves whose cell phone port often lose significant amounts of money, which may be challenging to get back. Find out how cell phone hackers perpetrate mobile devices and how to protect yourself from the port out scam.
How the Port Out Scam Works
Most firsthand stories of cell phone porting fraud say that the crime almost ruined their life. Take Money magazine’s account of Megan Clifford. While at work one January day, Clifford noticed that her cell phone wasn’t working. Shortly after this astonishment, she received a T-mobile text message about changes that had been made to her online password. As she hadn’t initiated the change, she promptly called T-mobile but, by then, hackers had already gained control and transferred her phone number to an alternate carrier by using identity theft.
With this first crime in place, hackers then began to steal from Clifford for over a month. Her bank had misplaced transfers to an individual she didn’t know and missing money. How did the hacker do this?
Well, once he or she had access and control over Clifford’s phone number, they could get into her bank information, accounts, and more through apps and password hacks and re-sets. She had to fix every single password, even for music sharing apps like Spotify.
Not only do some victims not realize the crime as quickly as Clifford did, but correcting it can be time-consuming. You will have to contact each financial institution’s customer service, and some apps only have email support. Also, safeguards such as two-party authentication for log-ins and passwords won’t work if the codes are being sent to a hacked ported phone number.
Whether this has happened to you or you’re worried your cell phone number might be ported, this is the best way to protect yourself and stop the hacker in their tracks.
How to Avoid the Port Out Scam
Change every single password for every account you have. Make a written list and check off the accounts as you go, so you don’t forget any. Feel as if you have too many online accounts to remember or aren’t sure what they are?
Perform a Social Catfish search and seek out your accounts by email, social media, phone number, username, etc. Visit Social Catfish to make sure you find every account before hackers do!
Make Passwords Complex
There is a joke that complex passwords require a DNA sample. While you don’t need to use incredibly complicated passwords, the best ones will include letters, numbers, special characters (#!@…), and upper/ lowercase letters. Do not use ANY passwords you have used before, even with variations.
Create entirely new passwords and if your computer is secure, store passwords and use different ones for each financial account. That way, even if one password is hacked, your information will be safe elsewhere. While this may not help if your phone number is ported and passwords re-set, it can help guard against account identity hacks.
iTunes & Google Play
If you have any charges that you didn’t authorize through your Apple device, change all passwords and contact iTunes or Google Play for a refund.
Cell Phone Company
Contact your cell phone company immediately and let them help you get your number back and safeguard your account. Also, have them communicate with the company your number was ported to and submit documentation of the fraudulent port immediately. Don’t only rely on your cell company alone, if you know which other company your cell phone was ported to, also contact them to get the ball rolling faster.
Want to safeguard yourself from cell phone porting fraud in advance? Visit Social Catfish to search your phone number and accounts online, then follow steps 1 & 2, regarding secure passwords!
Also, immediately follow up on any security alerts you get from your cell phone provider about the port out scam. While fraudulent cell phone porting can happen to anyone, our guide minimizes your risk and keeps your money where it should be – in your account.