There’s a new identity theft scam in town, and it starts with your phone number. Read on for what to do if it happens to you.
What it is
Scammers gather information about you including your name, phone number, email address, date of birth and any other identifying information they can use. Then they contact your wireless provider, impersonating you, and claim their phone was stolen. They’ll ask for your phone number to be linked to a new SIM card or to be ported over to another wireless provider.
Once your phone number is linked to their device, scammers can take control of your email, social media, online banking accounts and more by choosing “forgot password” and having a verification code texted to your cellphone number.
How to protect yourself
- Ask your wireless provider if they can add extra security or a port block on your account
- Have strong passwords on important accounts with security questions that are hard to guess
- Don’t publish personal information like your birth date on social media
- Contact your wireless provider immediately if your cellphone switches to emergency call service; this likely means your phone number has been transferred to another phone
- Watch out for phishing scams that ask you to change your password or update account information