What is a port-out scam?
Not everyone knows what a port out scam is. You might also not be aware of your phone number being very sensitive. Losing one’s phone number is more than possible, and sometimes, it is not better than losing one’s phone or another device.
A port-out scam is a sort of a hack attack on your phone number. It is dangerous because, along with your number, your email, social media, and bank accounts can also be stolen. You may notice a port out a scam when sending SMS, for example. In this case, your last messages do not go through, and you do not know what is going on. If you noticed those scary words telling you that your network is unavailable, you are a victim of a port-out scam.
How does a port-out scam work
To commit a port-out scam, no one should steal your phone or a SIM-card. It is enough to transfer your phone number to a different service provider. You must be aware of the process — nowadays, you can easily change your provider without changing your phone number. This is very convenient, but along with this new option, the problem of a port-out scam appeared.
The process of stealing your phone number starts with getting some of your personal details. It can be done through calling you and pretending to be someone else (a bank employee or a social worker, for example) or hacking your computer.
Once the criminals collect enough data about you, they will call your service provider, pretending to be you. Having enough information, they can easily transfer your phone number to another provider.
The information criminals need for doing this is like that:
- Your middle name;
- Date of birth;
- Social security number;
- Email address.
This information is enough to make you lose your phone number.
What happens next
Now, as hackers receive your phone number, they can do whatever they wish with it. They will get all of your messages, disposable passcodes, and many other things that should be seen by you only.
It is not difficult to guess that having all this data, criminals can easily access your bank or social media accounts. They can get to anything that requires two-factor authentication using your phone number.
A port-out scam doesn’t seem something serious. However, it is not like that. The problem is you often do not realize what is wrong until it is too late and you are in trouble. As a rule, you receive alerts or warnings on your phone, and now, you do not have access to it while someone else does.
How to protect yourself from a port-out scam
A lot of providers protect phones from unauthorized interference. However, some hackers are still very skilled and creative, and even the most careful providers cannot be protected. In most cases, your security depends on your provider. However, some simple steps will protect you from becoming a victim of a port-out scam.
Protect your account
You can complete a couple of steps to protect your account manually. Do the following:
- Open your account;
- Add security measures, for example, PIN codes and passwords wherever it is possible;
- Use two-factor authentication wherever possible (avoid SMS or call authentication);
- Avoid providing too much personal information online.
If you need to reduce your online activity, use VPN tools such as VeePN, for example. It will hide your online footprint, and criminals will not be able to collect enough data from stealing your phone number. Avoid clicking suspicious links online. Be careful with the apps you download.
Be careful with phone calls
You might receive many phone calls from different services, but you should be suspicious and make sure that the person calling you is exactly who he or she says. Avoid disclosing private details to someone you are not sure of. Do not let them know about your PIN codes, bank card details, etc. Your bank doesn’t need that information, and only criminals do, so do not tell anything like that on the phone or send by SMS.