T-Mobile warns customers about phone-porting scam

Feb 11, 2018, 5:07 PM | Updated: Feb 12, 2018, 10:50 pm

T-Mobile has been sending customers a text message urging them to turn on security measures on their accounts. The company said it had identified an industry-wide port-out scam.

Pete Ashdown is the Founder and President of Salt Lake City-based internet provider XMission. He said scammers are able to transfer people’s phone numbers from their current provider to another if they haven’t set up extra security with their provider. Once they’ve transferred the number, they can use the “forgot password” option on other sites to have the victim’s login credentials sent to them.

“I would say 95 percent of the population has no idea that this is a possibility, so it’s a real big threat and it’s a real big hole,” Ashdown said. “I wish that the cell phone providers would be more proactive and set these things up by default, set up a password on the account or a PIN number on the account so only the person with that can change it,”

Ashdown said this scam has been popping up for several years.

“The best security is to tell your cell phone provider that you want to set up a PIN number. Usually, a six-digit PIN number is enough to put a block in their way where they can’t port your phone number away,” Ashdown said.

In addition to adding a PIN to your mobile phone account, you should use passphrases instead of single passwords. He said a string of three words is much more difficult to crack than a single word. He also recommended changing those passphrases annually.

If you’ve already become a victim of this kind of scam, you should reset passwords on any account that may have been tied to that compromised mobile phone number.

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T-Mobile warns customers about phone-porting scam