PHOENIX – On Tuesday, Chairman of the Arizona House Committee on Technology, Bob Thorpe, called on Arizonans to beware of the growing numbers of cell phone porting scams across the country, and offered resources to avoid being targeted.
Thorpe cited attacks like the Equifax hack where millions of Americans’ personal information was compromised.
According to Thorpe, criminals can obtain and use your personal information to impersonate you.
Cell phone porting, or port-out scams involve using a victim’s name, cellphone number and other personal information to take over cellphones. Once a scammer obtains your personal information, they can contact your wireless provider online or over the telephone and say that they want to move ‘your’ cell number and service to another carrier. For the next 24 hours, the scammers then have control of your cellphone and your private information, such as online banking.
“Cell phone porting scams are a real threat to your personal security, and shouldn’t be taken lightly,” said Thorpe. “With nearly every website using cell phone numbers to allow users to gain access to their accounts, an international scammer could quickly steal everything in a short amount of time.”
“I have personally contacted my wireless provider to increase the security around port-out authorization, and I encourage the public to also look into this simple measure to protect against scammers,” explained Thorpe. It’s easy, for example, with Verizon, simply call and ask them to freeze your port, and that will block scammers from taking over your cell. Then if you ever want to port your cell to another provider, simply request it in person at a cellphone store where you can provide your personal I.D.”
“Remember to always be vigilant about protecting your personal information. Never give out your social security or credit card numbers or other sensitive information when someone calls you. Government agencies, like the IRS, never call and request this type of personal information.” Thorpe concluded, “If someone claims to be calling from your bank or even the police, politely hang up and visit or call them using a publicly listed telephone number. Always be vigilant, on your guard, and protect yourself.”