Cell phone porting scams targeted at stealing your phone number and service

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More Eye on Scams

A warning about a new type of scam to try and steal your information. It’s called porting or port-out scamming. 

A scammer will contact your mobile provider, impersonating you, and inform them that your phone was stolen and request the numbers be “ported” with another provider and device. 

Chris Babin, Business Administration Manager with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “If a scammer’s able to steal enough of your information to where they can call your cell phone provider and pretend to be you… it is possible that they can take your phone number and transfer that number to another provider.” 

A scammer can find out your name and phone number and then attempts to gather as much personal identifiable information as they can about you. 

That information can be used for identity theft. 

“The personal identifiable information, PII, is any of your information… your date of birth, Social Security number, address, name, that kind of thing. Scammers are able to use that and impersonate you and in this situation, take your cell phone number from the provider you’re currently using to a new provider without your knowledge,” added Babin. 

So why the name porting? 

“That’s what the cell phone companies call it when you take your cell phone number from one provider to the other,” explained Babin. “This type of scam impersonates you… ports your number to another provider that the scammer has access to and then they’re able to get access to your phone calls and text messages.” 

This port-out scam allows scammers to get past added security measures on personal and financial accounts and logins. 

“Make sure you know who you’re dealing with and that it is a legitimate party that you’re getting that information to because that information falling into the wrong hands is exactly the type of situation that could to lead to somebody impersonating you,” said Babin.

Here are some tips to protect yourself from these cell phone porting scams: 

  • Inquire about port-out authorization. Every major wireless company has some sort of additional security for accounts or for port-out authorization that customers can set up. 

  • Contact your mobile provider to set up security on your account. 

  • Watch out for unexpected “emergency calls only” status. Those calls happen when your phone number has been transferred to another phone. 

If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at smasters@klfy.com

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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