Looking to upgrade your security this new year? It is a good habit to update your security questions and efforts every year to ensure that hackers have no way to enter your personal and financial accounts. A common threat to bank accounts is actually linked to your phone and phone number. This is called a port out scam. How can you protect your phone and its apps and accounts from a port out scam?
Port Out Scam: What Is It? And How Do You Protect Your Phone?
Most phone users have never heard of a port out scam and so, most are not easily alarmed about one. But port out scams are more common than we think. In these scams, hackers steal your phone number or find a way to transfer your phone number to another carrier. This could happen when you are switching phone numbers. It is, therefore, important to make sure your service provider has good security options. You may also want to consider a virtual communications company, like Global Call Forwarding (https://www.globalcallforwarding.com/), who takes phone security seriously.
With your phone number available, hackers can now enter your banking apps, accounts, and more. And this is because when they are prompted to enter access codes, they can do so by having the codes sent to your phone number. Meanwhile, you will not receive any texts or alerts indicating there’s a problem. All a hacker needs to conduct a port out scam is your:
- Phone number
- Last digits of the social security
- Account login information
Keep Your Phone Number Safe
To be thoroughly secure, it is important to have layers of security. And so, you should aim to protect your phone, your PIN codes, your passwords, and even your email addresses. Here are some ways you can protect your phone from a port out scam.
1 – Two-factor authentication for bank apps and accounts: use every security option made available by your bank. Enable security questions, phone calls to confirm identity, email-based codes, and more.
2 – Add security PINs to important accounts: Some phone service carriers will let you do this online, while you may need to call others. But basically, once you activate a PIN, you’ll be required to provide it before porting or transferring your number to a new number. You will also need to enter the PIN when activating a new SIM card.
3 – Make your PIN unique and hard to guess: This is an important factor to remember. A simple and easy-to-identify PIN can be hacked without much inconvenience. Have a strong PIN and ensure that it is not leaked from any other site. Use a PIN that you haven’t used before and won’t use anywhere else.
4 – Use a trusted password manager: Every privacy manager will recommend this. It is very easy to just give up and have one password for all your accounts. Let’s face it: how many different passwords are you going to remember? And you may even just put them all in the ‘Notes’ app on your phone. But please don’t! Instead, use a password manager to sort and track your login information, to store all information in an encrypted vault. This way, only you will have access to the passwords and you can be creative and have different, random passwords.
5 – Watch for fishy, “take action now” texts and emails: Any text that asks you to do something in a time-sensitive manner needs your attention. Be suspicious if they are asking you to sign up for something impulsively. Instead, call the company or a friend to get another perspective.
6 – Call, when in doubt: Always call the company or your bank, whichever is asking you to take action. Don’t click on any links provided and don’t offer up any sensitive information. Instead, log in to your account, check to make sure everything is fine. Call their customer service to confirm that. If it is a scam, the institution needs to know as well.
7 – Use a virtual phone number: Get a virtual number because most virtual network operators have features that include creating a PIN number and passcode for your account.
New Year, New Security
Keep these factors in mind as you prepare to secure your accounts and important information from port out scams. Scams occur daily and hackers are becoming increasingly innovative with their schemes. This is why it is important to maintain strong passwords and keep your privacy up to date.