The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about a new way scammers are trying to steal your money, and even your identity, through your cellphone. As part of the “porting” or “port-out” scam, the identity thieves find out your phone number and then use it to get as much personal information about you as possible, including your name, address and Social Security number. Once they get your number, they call your phone company and pretend to be you and report your phone as stolen. They’ll then ask the number to be “ported” or linked up with another phone. The scariest part about this scam is that once they have your phone “ported” with another device, they can start getting access to some of your accounts that have tight security – like a code.
Here are the three steps you can take to protect yourself:
Reach out to your phone company and ask about porting security for your account. It could be a unique pin or adding a security question.
Watch out for an unexpected “emergency calls only” status. If your phone suddenly switches to that, it means your phone number has been transferred to another phone.
Keep your eye out for any suspicious messages. For example, alerts from your bank that seem random.
If you think you may be a victim of this scam, call your phone company and bank. The BBB also recommends filing a report on its website so you can warn others.