Protecting Your Phone Number 101

Apr 16, 2018

At Widget Financial, we always want to prepare our members and their families for any mobile phone scam. Recently, fraudsters have found ways to impersonate mobile phone users. In turn, they are transferring phone numbers to different mobile phone carriers – effectively stealing the users’ mobile phone number. This scam is referred to as a port-out scam.

Through the port-out scam, fraudsters are able to access calls and text messages that were intended for the user after stealing a users’ mobile phone number. After transferring the mobile phone number to a different phone carrier, fraudsters are able to access personal information that comes via text. This can allow for texts to come through with one-time passcodes that would be used to authenticate users when they are trying to login to websites that use multifactor verification.

The port-out scam can also have an effect in fraudulent transactions using credit and debit cards. Often times fraud management systems will contact cardholders when they suspect a suspicious transaction. Once the call is made the fraudster will receive the call, say that they are in fact the cardholder and confirm that the transaction was in fact legitimate.

To help protect all of our members at Widget Financial, we highly recommend going to your mobile phone provider and setting up a passcode to avoid any fraudulent activity. Major mobile phone carriers, such as AT&T and T-Mobile, are already recommending that their users do this to protect their phone numbers. If a user wishes to port their mobile phone to a different carrier, the new carrier would have to provide the “port validation password” to the existing carrier before the switch can take place.