Illegal Mobile Phone Number Porting
Mobile number fraud occurs when someone steals your personal information to transfer your mobile number to them without your consent.
Your stolen mobile number can then be used to receive SMS codes, allowing the scammer to gain access to services such as your bank, email and social media accounts and other services.
How can a Mobile Number be Transferred and Stolen Without my Consent?
After illegally obtaining your personal information, scammers may steal mobile numbers by:
- An unauthorised mobile number port—the scammer contacts a different phone company and pretends to be you, sets up an account and ports your number.
A SIM Swap—the scammer contacts your existing phone company pretending to be you and requests a new SIM card that contains your number for use on their device.
How can I Tell if my Mobile Number has been Stolen?
If you unexpectedly find that you have lost phone coverage or reception on your mobile phone service, it is possible that your mobile number has been stolen.
Signs may include:
- You are unable to make or receive calls or messages when you usually can
- Your mobile phone is showing ‘SOS only’, where reception bars usually appear.
If you’re unsure, contact your phone company to check your account or whether any mobile network-related incidents may have caused the
loss of service.
What should I do if my Mobile Number has been Stolen?
Contact your mobile phone company and check whether your number was ported or transferred without your consent.
If your number was ported to another phone company, request a reversal of the port.
If a SIM swap has occurred, ask your phone company to deactivate the SIM card and provide you with a replacement.
Contact your bank urgently to alert it to the possibility of fraudulent activity. You may also consider changing your bank passwords.
Check your social media accounts for unusual activity and change your passwords.
Report any fraud to local police.
Report any cybercrime relating to identity theft and online fraud to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network.
Contact IDCARE on 1300 432 273 for support and free assistance for identity
crime and cyber-related security.
What can you do to Protect Yourself?
- Ask your mobile provider and your bank to set up a secret pin number or password that only you know to identify yourself when you call them or deal with them in person.
- Check your social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to ensure your mobile number is hidden from public viewing (remember to check resumes and work documents that are available online). Also, find out if your mobile number is listed online anywhere and have it taken down. You can do this by Googling your mobile number
- Remove your birthdate from public view on social media. Use a fake birthdate when you sign up. Do not use real personal information for security questions; make up a best friends name or mother’s maiden name. Remember a scammer can work out your birthdate from photos of birthday celebrations, or a happy birthday message from a friend.
- Create strong passwords for your online accounts and use different passwords for different accounts. If you have lots of online accounts, consider using a password manager.
- Wherever possible, use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to login to your online accounts. MFA is when you need to input a time limited verification code that before you can log in to an account.
- Scammers can gain personal information about you by stealing your physical mail. Make sure you have a lock on your physical letter box, and keep your home street address offline. Google your address alongside your name to see if it is listed anywhere.
- Be security conscious on Facebook and online generally. Do not list your family’s names online anywhere; if you have connected them in your Facebook profile hide or delete these links. Hide your friends list from public and friends’ view. If a scammer can see your friends list, they can then copy your Facebook profile to impersonate you, and then approach them using a fake profile. Never accept a friend request from someone you are already friends with on Facebook as it may be a fake profile.
The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP Code) sets out the obligations on phone companies to get your consent and ensure any transfer request is from your or an authorised representative.
The Mobile Number Portability Code (MNP Code) sets out the processes phone companies must follow when porting your mobile number from one phone company to another.
The Telecommunications Numbering Plan 2015 (numbering plan) sets out the rules for number portability.
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About the Author
Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled IT Challenger at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having
created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT customers.
Surety IT’s mission is to address and overcome the 4 biggest problems businesses have with their IT systems and support which are: poorly performing systems, unreliable systems, unresponsive IT support and poor IT related advice.
We’ve developed a proprietary process that allows us to do that by: thoroughly understanding your business requirements, gaining an in-depth knowledge of your IT systems, identifying mission critical technology issues vital to your business performance and ensuring our ‘Solution Path’ process is specifically designed and tailored for you with value based solutions and support.
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