Protect yourself from cell-phone account fraud
Cell phones are an essential part of daily life for many people. Unfortunately, they are also the source of a new form of identity theft, cell-phone account fraud, which can have serious financial consequences.
A crook can open a cell-phone account in your name using personal information collected from your social media posts or purchased from hackers. With your Social Security number, driver’s license number, address and other personal information, the thief can open accounts in your name, including a cell-phone account.
You may not realize this until you find money stolen from your bank account or there is credit card debt in your name.
Sometimes a criminal may use your personal information to trick the cell phone carrier into transferring or porting your phone number to a phone that belongs to the scammer.
Once the company ports your number to a new phone, all calls and text messages meant for you will go to the scammer’s phone. This makes it easier for them to reset passwords and access your bank accounts.
Once a company ports a number to a new phone, the original phone will no longer have service.
How can you protect yourself?
Get a personal identification number for your cell-phone account that only you know.
You should also review your monthly cell-phone bill, bank and credit card statements, and any other financial transactions for suspicious activity.
In addition, you can put a freeze on the credit information used to open your cell-phone account.