Criminals can steal your phone number by pretending to be yourself and then transferring it to another phone. Can someone steal your identity with your cell phone number?
What is an Out Out scam?
“Moving scams” is a big problem for the entire mobile industry. In this scam, the criminal pretends it’s you and transfers your current phone number to another mobile operator. This process is called “transfer” and is intended to keep the phone number after changing to a new mobile operator. All text messages and calls to your phone number are then sent to their phone instead of to you.
This is a big problem because many online accounts, including bank accounts, use your phone number as a two-factor authentication method. They will not allow you to log in without first sending the code to your phone. But after the porting scam, the criminal will receive this security code on his phone. They can use it to access financial accounts and other sensitive services.
Change the identification method if you can
First, ask the telephone company to put a personal identification number on your account. We hope that the operator will have to present this before the phone number will be “transferred” to the new operator or assigned to another SIM card.
Then check to see if you can switch to more secure authentication on sensitive accounts. Sending an SMS code is better than nothing because it’s more difficult to beat this “two-factor” authentication than using a password. A better solution would be to get codes by connecting to a landline or using an authentication application such as Authy, Google Authenticator or Duo Security on your smartphone.
Do not give away unless necessary. You may be conditioned to make a note or pass your number when you are asked to do so, but it is important to break with this habit and make a new one out of the question if it is necessary. You can ask whether you can enter a zip code or email address instead (first make sure you have your email address set up). As with your social security number, there are probably many cases where a cell phone number is collected for quick and easy identification, but in reality it is not mandatory. The question never hurts, and a virtual phone number can help in cases where you need to provide it. Also, don’t publish your mobile number online and consider searching it from time to time to make sure it doesn’t provide a roadmap for your identity.
Sending false offers by mail
Another attempt at offline theft involves “phishing” which can be done with good old-fashioned snail mail. Then the fake entity sends mail cleverly disguised as a legitimate institution requesting money or financial information.
These messages may contain fake bills, service change notifications, or lottery win notifications.