‘SIM Swap’ Scam:  Criminals Really Have Your Number

If you’re not familiar with SIM swap fraud, prepare to be terrified.

This scam, also known as port-out or SIM splitting fraud, allows criminals to hijack your cell phone number. Once they have your number, the bad guys can clean out your financial accounts, confiscate your email, delete your data and take over your social media profiles.

Fraudsters can do all this because many companies — including banks, brokerages, email providers and social media platforms — verify your identity by texting a code to your cell phone. Intercepting those codes can give a criminal an all-access pass to your financial and digital life.

What’s more, you can’t prevent this fraud — only your carrier can. And right now, criminals are finding it’s pretty easy to fool the phone companies.

The scammers pretend they want to change carriers or say they need a new SIM card, the module that identifies a phone’s owner and allows it to connect to a network. Once they persuade the carrier to transfer your number to a phone they control, they can attack your other accounts.

While you can’t prevent this fraud if you have a cell phone, CLICK HERE to learn how you may be able to reduce the chances of being victimized or at least limit the damage.

Source: The original article was written by Liz Weston, a columnist with NerdWallet, and was originally published by The Associated Press.

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