Phone porting scams have become commonplace in the current atmosphere and if you have never heard of phone porting scams then I wouldn’t blame you. Cybercriminals are getting smarter by the minute and evolving as we call out their scams. If you have ever been a victim of a hacking scare, you know how scary the thought of a stranger getting hold of all your private information stored on your smartphone is and to help you save that private information we are going to take a look at what is a phone port out scam and how you can save yourself from being a victim of it.
Advanced security system like 2 factor authentication use your contact number as a second verification mode and if someone has access to your phone number which is what a phone port out scam is then they can claim access to your social media accounts, your bank accounts and so much more which you can imagine is such a nightmare.
What is a port out Scam?
Whenever you switch carrier you usually bring in your old contact number with you. In a phone port out scam, a con artists walk into a store or calls them up pretending to be you and tries to port your number to gain access to the sim card. In cases where appropriate security measures aren’t taken this could have you deep in trouble.
Another similar scam known as sim swap is also prevalent which is similar to the port out but instead of changing carriers the scammer goes to your own carrier and requests access to your sim saying that they lost the old sim.
One phone number can be attached to only one sim at a time so in either of these scams you end up losing access to your phone and Linus Sabastian of Linus Tech Tips fame became a victim of this scam a little while ago.
How to know if you have been compromised?
Before you can take action against the scam you need to identify if your number has been compromised. A telltale sign of your number being compromised is if your phone suddenly switches to emergency calls only and if you see it in your notification bar you should contact your carrier immediately.
When you see “Emergency Calls Only” on your cellphone that is when an elaborate scam has begun and you have been victimized in the process.
How can you protect yourself from being scammed
While there is no sure shot way to protect yourself from being a victim of a port out scam there are ways to mitigate and reduce the risk. Following are some ways to help you save yourself against these scams.
1. Use alternative numbers
Use a secondary number for all your 2 factor authentication needs which you share with only a handful of very close and trusted people instead of using your primary number.
2. Add a pin to your carrier account
By adding additional layers of security to your account you will ensure that you are able to safeguard yourself from being scammed. Here’s a list of ways to add a pin to your sim card.
Sprint makes it mandatory for every account to have a pin. If you don’t know yours or wish to update it you can visit their website and log into your account.
In your account you can find the pin under My Sprint >>Profile > Security Information. You can also walk into one of their stores
Sprint Customer Support Line – 1-888-211-4727
You can log into your online account through their website and set your pin in there. Alternatively, you can also walk into one of the many stores they have or call their customer support line to set your pin.
Verizon customer support line – 1-800-922-0204
You can visit a T-Mobile store or call 611 or 1-800-937-8997 from your phone to set up a pin that is up to 6 digit long which is 2 digits more than the standard 4 digits most other carriers allow.
T-Mobile Support line – 1-800-937-8997
AT&T is relatively easy. All you have to do is Log into your AT&T account. Then tap View Profile under which you shall find Sign-in Info. In there navigate to Wireless Passcode and find Manage Extra Security. This is where you can create your desired PIN.
MetroPCS is one of the most proactive carriers who have a dedicated helpline to report pot out scams, you can report a scam on 1-888-8Metro8. You can also set a pin by logging into your MetroPCS account or by calling the support.
MetroPCS Support line – 1-888-863-8768
3. Verify callers
If you have been getting a lot of calls from unknown numbers lately there is a possibility that scammers are trying to get more information about you and hence you need to be a step ahead from them. Verify any unknown call on National Cellular Directory which allows you to reverse lookup cellphone numbers and even look up people by name. It provides you with a report which contains a name, any addresses, social media links, and even criminal records if you opt for the full report.
You should certainly check any unknown calls once if you feel that you are about to become the next victim of a phone port out scam.
If you have been compromised then the first step should be to call up your bank and alert them of the situation and ask them to lock out your account. The second step would be to call your operator and figure out a way to get you out of the soup. Lastly, if you need any help you should reach out to us and we shall try to help you.
So this was our guide on what is a port out scam and how you should protect yourself from falling prey to a scam like this. If you have any questions or suggestions leave them below in the comments and we shall surely address them.