It wasn’t too long ago a customer of mine called me and said they had 14 new iPhones show up on their bill. After a bit of digging I found out that the VP of Operations got a call from someone pretending to be from their carrier stating that they needed some help verifying their identity and were going to send a text message code to their phone. The caller asked that they simply read back the code and their system would then be able to verify their identity and all would be good. Sounds somewhat legit right? I mean how could they possibly know who he was and what his cell number was if they weren’t an employee of the carrier? Wrong!!!!!!!!!! The people doing this will use the code you just gave them to change the password on your account and can then gain access.
Unfortunately, and perhaps even scarier is most of the account hijackings likely occur without the victims having provided information to fraudsters themselves. There are several reverse-lookup websites that will identify the carrier associated with any US phone number for free. Some will also identify the name of the subscriber and their city and state for free and will sell the complete address for less than a dollar. The would-be criminals don’t have to work too hard to get what they are after.
We were able to clear the mess up after several calls and many hours with the Fraud Department but what a nightmare!
Our customers like that we are local, that they know us, they can trust us, and that we know their business. If we call, they can rest assured, we are doing so in their best interest. If something sounds phishy (pun intended) they can count on us to get to the bottom of it.
One of the best things you can do to prevent and protect yourself from these attacks is to establish an account PIN or password. You must provide this PIN to interact with the carrier for any reason. We help our customers establish the PIN or password and even go so far as to have it individualized for each authorized person on the account. Carriers have done a much better job adopting a multi-level approach to authenticating both existing and new customers and require their own employees to use it for all transactions.
In 2013, there were 1,038 claims of cell phone identity thefts, and by 2016 the number had increased to 2,658 which represents 3.2% of all identity thefts reported and the US Department of Justice estimates less than 1% of identity theft victims report it!
Please share this with other business owners you wouldn’t want this to happen to. Bottom line only work with a PERSON or COMPANY you trust. It will eliminate a lot of headaches and can save you the trouble of “Sitting on hold” and countless hours working with the Fraud Department to get your account back. We are the team that watches out for you! Call us before it’s too late.
Happy Summer to all!