Chances are that you probably haven’t heard of the port-out scam. However, just because it is something that has yet to attract widespread attention doesn’t mean it’s not a threat you should take seriously. Let’s take a look at why.
What Is a Port-Out Scam?
It’s very common for people to take their existing phone numbers with them when they switch mobile provider. Recently, unscrupulous individuals have been taking advantage of the ease with which this can be done by porting other people’s numbers and essentially taking control of them.
Here’s how it works: Someone calls your carrier or visits the store and pretends to be you. They then instruct the provider to port your number to a new carrier. Without warning, you find your cellphone service has been cut off, and some stranger has complete control of your number. A variation of this is SIM hijacking, which operates in a similar way but the attacker orders a new SIM.
Why Should You Care?
Losing the ability to use your phone is the least of your worries. Once the attacker has control of your phone, they will receive all your messages. If you have set up banking security measures that involve SMS authentication, the hijacker can potentially access your bank account and many other sources of highly sensitive information.
How To Protect Yourself
Fortunately, it’s really easy to avoid the port-out scam. All you need to do is add a security PIN to your account. From that point onward, people will not be able to make any type of change to your account without citing the PIN. As such, you are protected against both the port-out and SIM hijacking scams. Most carriers will let you set a PIN quickly and easily online or via the phone.