Phone porting fraud is when your mobile phone number is ported to a new telecommunications (telco) provider without your consent. A phone port can be initiated by providing the genuine owner’s name, mobile number, email, or date of birth.
If your phone number has been illegally ported, you lose mobile phone reception, access to network data and therefore, the ability to call and text.
The fraudster who illegally ported your number can now text, make calls from your phone number and is the new owner of the number registered for your two-factor authentication (2FA). This means, the fraudster can log into your internet banking by using your mobile phone number to reset your password and then transact on your account(s).
A SIM swap is where the fraudster will contact your telco provider and request to activate a new SIM card with your number. They can do this through the same methods used to port your phone.
How does a fraudster know my details?
A fraudster may have obtained this information through a number of different ways.
You may have clicked a phishing link through an email or text message and entered sensitive information, or your emails may have been compromised.
The fraudster may have accessed personal information you may have accessible on social media profiles. The fraudster may have also accessed this information via ‘social engineering’ through a phone call or messaging app. ‘Social engineering’ is the act of manipulating people to give up confidential or sensitive information.
Unusual activity to be aware of
- Your service is suddenly disconnected and showing ‘SOS only’.
- Unexpected texts from your provider advising that you have requested your number to be ported to another network.
How to prevent phone porting
- Contact your telco provider and increase your security questions to unique answers only you would know.
- Remove your email, mobile number, and date of birth from your social media profiles.
- Download the Macquarie Authenticator app.
- Be security conscious on social media sites and online.
- Use two-step verifications to log into your email account and banking apps.
- Never click a link you receive via email or text message.
- Be aware of cold calls where a scammer will manipulate you to give up personal information such as your banking credentials, credit card, address, or date of birth.
What do to if you suspect your phone has been ported
- Contact your mobile phone provider immediately.
- Contact your financial institution/s.
- Change your passwords to online banking, email and social media accounts.
- For help with identity fraud, contact ID Care.
- Report the matter to your local police.
- For help with protecting yourself online, visit https://www.cyber.gov.au