The cell phone porting or port out scam is now the latest threat to our personal information and our cell phones.

A ll it takes is a hacker to get your name and phone number and then they will try to get as much information as they can (name, address, Social Security number, date of birth). They then contact your cell phone provider, pretending to be you, and inform them that your phone was stolen.

Then they ask for the number tobe ported over to another device and service provider.  Once they have done that they can then start accessing any account that requires additional authorization in terms of a code texted directly to your phone for security verification -- anything from social media networks to bank accounts.

You frequently do not notice that you have been hacked until the phone has no service, or you get an unexpected text message containing account authentication/access codes. Here are some ideas to protect yourself from the Minnesota Office of the BBB(Better Business Bureau)

  • Talk to your cell phone provider specifically about porting and/or port-out security on your account. Every major wireless provider has some sort of additional security for accounts or for port-out authorization that customers can set up.
  •  Watch out for unexpected “Emergency Calls Only” status. Call your wireless provider if your phone suddenly switches to "emergency call service only" or something similar. That's what happens when your phone number has been transferred to another phone. Contact the police and your financial institutions as well.
  •  Be vigilant about communications you receive. Watch out for phishing attempts, alert messages from financial institutions, and unexpected texts in response to two-factor authentication requests you didn’t initiate.

If you've fallen victim to this type of scam, the BBB encourages you to take steps to recover your identity. It's also a good idea to file a report on BBB's ScamTracker.