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Fighting Mobile Number Porting Fraud

May 03, 2017

There are several different forms of mobile fraud, but one of the most common is mobile number porting scams. This particular type of mobile fraud is growing in popularity amongst fraudsters simply because it’s so easy to pull off. But what is it exactly, and how can you figure out if you’re a victim before it’s too late?

According to Australian Communications Consumer Action Network(ACCAN), “Fraudulent mobile number porting happens when a scammer uses your personal details to port your mobile number from one provider to another. Scammers can get access to your personal details, such as your date of birth, phone number and address, via your social media profiles.” With that information, they can easily walk into any provider store, pretend to be you, and switch networks.

From there, they can get a new phone under the new provider, and then gain access to all your personal information—email accounts, bank accounts, passwords, etc. These scams can be harmful to both the victims and the providers and financial institutions involved. Victims have their identities and money stolen, and banks and providers tend to lose their reputations. All around, mobile number porting scams are dangerous.

So how do you know if you’re a victim, before it’s too late? Too many people find out about the fraudster’s activities because their phone stops working or their credit card gets declined due to an empty bank account. According to ACCAN, another common way of finding out is if your phone shows ‘SOS only’ where the reception bars usually appear.

Once it’s apparent that your number has been ported, there are a few key things you must do immediately:

  • Contact your mobile provider to verify the porting situation
  • Contact your bank to secure your account, and let them know about any fraudulent transactions that have already occurred
  • Immediately change all of your passwords on social media, banking apps, etc.
  • Notify friends and family not to open any emails or messages from you, as fraudsters may try to steal their information as well

From there, it’s unfortunately a waiting game. Fraudsters are turning more and more to mobile number porting to steal information because it’s so easy to accomplish. This is a very real concern, and providers and banks would do well to prepare. Preparation is one of the best forms of protection; if operators always keep the possibility of fraud top of mind, they’ll be more aware of suspicious activity and more likely to catch fraudsters in the act. Investing in anti-fraud solutions is also a good way for operators to stay on top of fraud.

Mobile number porting scams bring nothing but hardship and complications with them. From operators to banks to customers, no one but the fraudster gets off easy. So why not do everything you can to stop the problem before it has a chance to begin?

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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