Alarming New Phone Port-Out Scam Has Thieves Emptying Bank Accounts
Linda Collins - August 1, 2019
Took look back on history would serve to prove the point that sometimes we do things in the name of safety and security, only to realize the solutions are built on a foundation of toothpicks. A good example of this can be found in our current banking industry. Think about your own bank account. Is it tied to your phone? Do they text you updates and alerts? Do they use your cell phone number to text you verification codes to verify your identity? This is all advantageous for the bank as they can easily and quickly identify and verify you. It’s all great right?
*Queue Danger Music* – Imagine a scenario where an online identity thief has hacked your email, your bank account. Now imagine this person also has access to your phone as well? With access to your phone a data thief gets quite a bit on you. They can read your personal messages, your emails, access your bank, change logins you name it, it can be done. In short this is what is happening with the latest in scams called the Port-Out scam.
What is the Port-Out Scam Exactly?
Scammers have come to realize that these days most highly sensitive information is encrypted and behind a two-step authentication system. This is when you have to answer a question AND receive a text confirmation code. They know to steal your data they will also need to have access to your cell.
And get this… they absolutely CAN steal your phone number, and here is how they are doing it:
1. Simple Snatch and Grab.
Your data can be sourced in many ways. Your mail, stolen online, maybe you clicked on a link you shouldn’t have and filled out a form. They are getting enough data to successfully simulate you.
2. Acquired On the Dark Web.
“Dark Web” sounds like something straight out of the movies. Almost silly. But it’s very real and a LOT of identities are bought and sold on the dark web every single day.
3. The Thespian vs. The Phone Company!
When the scammer has enough information on you that they can successfully impersonate you with your phone company.
4. This Number Has Been Disconnected.
Often times when a person is a victim of identity theft, they will find that this is the first indication that something is wrong. This happens when your phone company believes that the identity thief is you, and cancels service to your chip.
5. Same Number, New Service.
After they have often your number disconnected… you guessed it… they get a new one opened up with the same number on a different service account
6. NOW, it gets REAL!
With access to a cell with your number ported to it, they can now receive and respond to identity verification texts. This will grant them access to changing logins and getting your money with very little effort.
By the time you realize it, they could have already emptied you out. That is what is scary about this particular scam. It’s very quick.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself from The Port-Out Scam
Let’s face it, there is not much most of us can do past trusting in the very sources that have had data breaches in the past. It’s a bit daunting but then again, so is learning data security programming at a level that you could offer solutions. So… short of that there are a few things one can do to give themselves a little added level of security.
To assist in preventing a Port-Out scam happening to you. Here are a few steps you can take:
- Security Pin # – Your phone company should offer this as an option if not already make it a requirement. However, if it is optional it is wise to set up a pin. This way nothing can be changed on your account without it.
- Update. Update. Update. Update your passwords please! Do this regularly. There is no reason not to.
- When able use an alternative method for two-step authentication. Try Google Authenticator instead of SMS for example.
Have you ever been the victim of a phone port-out scam? Share your story in the comments!