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Old 05-14-22, 01:15 PM  
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SIM Swapping Scams

I’ve been reading a lot about SIM swapping scams, and have decided it’s time to do everything possible to try to prevent it. This scam involves a criminal who gets a SIM card for your cell phone number and uses it in another device. Your phone stops working, and the thief uses various methods to steal from your bank accounts, etc.. The thief is able to change your log in information on the bank and other websites, and if there is text message for 2-factor authentication, the thief receives the text and gets into your account. The thieves have information about you from the internet, including data searches, data breaches, and what you post about yourself online. They often have your social security number from data breaches and can convince your cell carrier to send a new SIM, by using it to verify your identity. One problem is that many of us have had the same cell number for years, so thieves easily can find out your cell number.

Some carriers have set up protection methods, but you still need to do more to protect yourself. I was thinking of getting a second cell phone with a new number, to use for 2-factor authentication. There are some cheaper carriers, like Boost Mobile. I got a Google Voice number, which will send a text message in the form of an email. I use that for 2-factor authentication on some websites so that I don’t list my main cell number.

I am going to get a new email address that I do not put into my phone, for bank and other important accounts that I want to protect. The thieves usually have your email addresses and using your cell number, reset the email password and use your emails to get more information and get into your accounts.

I put the Google Authenticator app into my phone to use instead of text messages for 2-factor authentication, but certain carriers only give it as an option in addition to text message and email, and not as a stand-alone option, so that defeats the purpose since the thief will receive the text. There are other apps out there, but I am not familiar with them.

There are apps that allow you to get a second phone number without needing a SIM card or new phone. You have to pay for most of them. Google Voice is free.

I recommend everyone change their passwords to long, difficult passwords, on all their important accounts, like banks. Always have 2-factor or multi-factor authentication, if it’s offered. Even a text message is better than nothing.

Does anyone have any other ideas?
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Old 05-14-22, 02:34 PM  
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thank you for bringing this up.

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Old 05-14-22, 03:43 PM  
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Originally Posted by bzar View Post
thank you for bringing this up.
You're welcome!

I just finished changing all of my important accounts (bank, Paypal, etc.) to the new email address and the new Google Voice number. Any account that allowed an additional security code or other security feature, I added it.

Some websites will not let you use a Google Voice number for 2-factor verification. I am not sure what I'm going to do about that.
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Old 05-15-22, 08:58 AM  
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This is concerning. I keep getting a message on my droid that there is no SIM card inserted. When this happens I can't use the phone to make calls or for GPS directions.
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Old 05-15-22, 10:57 AM  
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That is strange, Pat. You should speak to your carrier.

I have been looking into the different apps that provide you with a new cell number, but I am concerned that all the websites that don’t allow Google Voice numbers, won’t allow the other app numbers either.

What I have discovered that is particularly unnerving, is that a lot of financial websites only offer SMS text as two-factor authentication, and some banks don’t even offer any two-factor authentication. It’s hard to believe that any financial institution would not keep up with the available ways to better secure customers’ accounts.
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fraud, identity theft, scams, sim swapping

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