Northumberland OPP are advising the public of a cellphone scam after a Brighton resident reported having her phone number transferred.
OPP say on Thursday, a resident reported that she had received the following message on her cellphone: “Rogers has received a request to transfer your telephone number to another service provider. If you did not authorize, contact Rogers urgently.”
Police say the victim believed the message was spam and ignored it. However, shortly after, she discovered her phone was inactive. Police say she called her cellphone provider from another source and discovered her phone number had been transferred to a new service provider — a process known as porting.
OPP say fraudsters attempt to impersonate an individual to gain access to the mobile account and claim the phone has been lost or stolen. They then download apps and select “forgot password.” If an account is associated with the phone number or email address, the fraudster will receive a verification code and can then take ownership of the account.
OPP warn fraudsters are using porting to gain access to individuals’ email, social media and financial accounts.
“Fraudsters may empty your bank accounts, apply for credit in your good name, or impersonate you to defraud your entire contact list,” stated Const. Kimberly Johnson. “In the meantime, you lose access to your mobile service, are typically locked out of all your accounts, and are left scrambling.”
OPP offer the following tips to protect yourself:
- Keep your personal information private. It can be as simple as not publishing your date of birth on social media.
- Do not answer phishing emails or text messages looking for you to confirm your password or update your account information.
- Use an offline password manager.
- Contact your phone provider and ask about additional security measures that may be available.
- If you lose mobile service on your device, immediately contact your service provider directly.
If you believe you are a victim, banking institutions should be notified and all passwords for online accounts should be changed. Incidents can be reported to police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or 1-888-495-8501.