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T-Mobile Warning Customers of Latest Phone Hijacking Scam

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T-Mobile customers are currently being cautioned to take necessary precautions against a new scam called SIM hijacking.

A representative for T-Mobile has confirmed that they have started sending out a text alert to their customers who may find themselves victimized by this latest stunt. The attack has been called as "phone number port out scam."

What happens in this scam is that the cell phone provider either receives a call or a visit from the scammer who's impersonating his latest victim. He then requests a new SIM card for the phone number of the victim. In some cases, this happens when porting a phone number to another carrier.

As soon as the new SIM card has been issued, the scammer takes over the phone number of his victim. He then uses this to take control over all the accounts linked to the phone number, such as banking or social media accounts. When the hacker is able to get control of the device, he can use this to reset the password by sending a text reset link.

Once the scammer gets control of the phone, he already has access to all the information of the real user. There have been reports of T-Mobile customers losing money from their bank accounts because of this scam.

Needless to say, this attack is not really new. As a matter of fact, similar attacks were reported since last summer when the hackers were able to take use of a bug on T-Mo's website. Through this bug, the scammers were able to gain access over the data of other people by impersonating as T-Mobile support staff.

In response to this, T-Mobile has set up a website to answer the questions of its customers regarding these attacks. You can also call 611 on your T-Mobile phone or 1-800-937-8997 to create your "port validation" passcode. Depending on your provider, you can set up a phone passcode or PIN unique from your other passwords. And when you need actually need to request for a new SIM or switch providers, you can use this passcode or PIN to verify your identity.


Source: PhoneArena, Motherboard

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12 comments:

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  1. Thx for this update Christina.

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  2. Could this happen on CDMA carriers as well?

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    Replies
    1. Port hijacking can happen on any carrier. The thief just needs to know what information the winning carrier needs for a successful port.

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  3. SIM hijacking isn't exactly a new thing. It's been hitting T-Mobile customers hard because, in my opinion, T-Mobile has made it easy to these scammers to steal a number from under the owner. Pair that with stupidity of banks like Wells Fargo that don't provide any other online password reset options but SMS, and you find yourself in a bad situation.

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  4. BTW--this "port validation" crap they set up, it was a fail too, at least initially, because it could still be bypassed with last 4 of SSN.

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  5. What can we do if using prepaid service?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Regardless of prepaid or postpaid, you don't want your banking authentication to include your cellphone number. Switch it to something more secure, if you can.

      If yours is a carrier that uses the last four of SSN or some other easy to figure out PIN, you'd want to look into changing it to something that's harder to guess.

      If yours is a carrier that freely distributes account# and PIN over the phone to "people calling in about their account," it might be a good idea to switch.

      Delete
    2. I set up a port validation code for my prepaid phone. The first rep did not know what I was talking about so I hung up and called again. The second rep knew exactly what I wanted to do and set one up for my prepaid numbers without a problem.

      Delete
  6. this is why tmobile sent out the warning: http://www.androidpolice.com/2018/02/06/t-mobile-sued-porting-mans-number-thieves-stole-cryptocurrency/

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  7. I would never link a bank account to a cell phone. Sorry, but that is a convenience I can do without!

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  8. What happens in this scam is that the cell phone provider either receives a call or a visit from the scammer who's impersonating his latest victim

    __ So Tmobile is warning customers, about its own stupidity? The cell phone provider, gives out to a stranger a new sim with identity theft info. Thank you John.......

    ReplyDelete
  9. also a big huge reason to use cash to purchase your prepaid service and never even link your account to any credit card at all or ANY personally identifiable information! If an attacker manages to steel your serive, its only worth whatevers left on the month you paid for. Its not hard to do, I've been doing this for years. I will never trade privacy and security for convience, but unfortunately, there are too many that are more than willing to do just that. I cant say I feel too sorry for those that have been so careless with their freedom and have suffered losses as a result.

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