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Identity theft… by mobile phone

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Identity theft can happen to you – and your mobile phone. It has even happened to the FTC’s Chief Technologist, Lorrie Cranor, and other FTC colleagues.

How does it happen? You might get a bill for a new mobile phone that you didn’t order. The thief used your personal information to open a new account. Or maybe your phone stops working entirely because a thief used your information to upgrade to a new phone and then shut off the phone you’re using.      

What can you do to reduce the risk of mobile phone identity theft?

  • Establish a PIN or password that must be used before making changes on your mobile phone account. Each carrier offers this feature in a slightly different way. Our Chief Technologist’s blog post has more details on the options carriers offer. 
  • Beware of phishing scamsThieves may call pretending to be your mobile phone carrier, asking for codes from your phone or other personal information. Don’t give this information over the phone unless you initiated the call. And make sure to call your carrier at the number listed on your bill, not a number given to you over the phone.
  • Monitor your monthly bills – Check your mobile phone and credit card bills each month for signs of fraud. If you see something suspicious, immediately contact your mobile phone carrier’s fraud department.
  • Safely dispose of mobile phones – When you’re ready to get a new phone, don’t just throw away the old one. First, remove all personal information to make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Then, consider recycling or donating your old phone. 

And if you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft, visit to report the theft and get a personal recovery plan.


I have had my stolen just last night they charged 181.00 on my how can I catch up and stop it the girl know I know she has it but won't give it back she has no right to it my phone

If someone stole your phone, you could contact your carrier or your local police. If someone is using the information from your phone to get into your bank or credit card accounts, or commit other identity theft, go to You can report the theft, get an affidavit and get steps to help you resolve the problems.

Bridget newc thank you

Where to send scam emails asking for personal information but informing me not to share the email I received I know it's a scam but please help me turning. the email to the right person .

You can send email to the FTC. Go to to report this. You can give as much, or as little, information as you want.

The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

What about also certain free applications with pop up banners and using free or insecure w wifi? What do you recommend?

We have information about mobile apps to help you understand why some apps are free, and the kinds of data an app can get access to on your phone. This FTC article has tips for using public wi-fi.

It is such a scary world.

I agree with the F.T.C. recommended steps.I know they stand up for many consumers. Me being a victim to identity theft left me lost. But now I'm fighting back!! I have locked down my phone information & still will be bringing those whom have stolen from me to court!!

I want to put a stop to these people using my identity they keep getting access to my information I have to make new email and change my social media password several times I am ready to press charges on them thank you

I have been using the FTC for information for a few years and I'm grateful to you for all the cases you've won, and your constant work for all Americans. Thank you!

thanksF.T.C. for that knowledge.

Nuke your contact list. Never store a password or
Pin anywhere . Ignore most emails. 18550

I'm a victim of identity feud/sticker I can't get anyone to listen or help me,I've been talking with Lisa S, FBI victim specialist I went to the police and they have not contacted me I call everyday I have a case file,I'll I want is someone to help me please

You can report identity theft at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. You can create an affidavit that has the details of your identity theft, and get pre-printed letters and forms to send to businesses and creditors. You can also get a personal recovery plan to help you work through the steps to address problems caused by identity theft.

It's such a horrible situation. Your identity is the least they steal,they also steal your peace, and your faith in any of the things you have to do in the normal course of life.

My phone and home router have been compromised. I have changed my phone number twice and wiped my phone countless times.I have changed internet providers and I am still seeing ssdp attacks in my firewall. I believe I know the individuals doing this but have no proof. I am at my wits end because I believe that co workers are doing this. I am on the verge of quitting my job and I cannot afford to do that. I will be forever grateful for any advice that you can give.

I am logged into a lot of devices there is a lot of activity of accounts I've never seen or had access to also I am not receiving emails

My sister received a text stating she had been added to a group chat and to file the link provided or open the app listed. She didn't recognize any of the other persons listed or the phone number, which was from another area code unfamiliar to her. She declined the request to add her/join the group and did not click on the link or app. I felt this may have been an identity theft attempt, although she originally just thought they had the wrong number. Have you heard of this? Is it a phishing tactic? Thanks.

Yes, the request could have been from someone trying to get her to respond and send personal information.

I have been called 1(718) 2100059 nuber few times robocall says press #1 for dont call list.. What should I do

When you get illegal sales calls or robocalls, it's best to ignore them. Don't interact in any way. Don’t press buttons to be taken off the call list or to talk to a live person or call back. That just leads to more calls.  These are useful details for a complaint.  Please report your experience at

Just received an email telling me I am being considered for a new position opening up and have been selected for an interview. It looks somewhat official with qualifications necessary and salary range. All they need me to do is send a reply with my cell number. I have made some inquiries but have not sent a resume out and the email address does not appear to be from a business. 90% sure this is a scam. I have not seen this type of phish before so beware,

What has happened to me, everyone should be aware of, someone or some people who got hold of my SSN and some other personal info called my career to ask my customer number, which diffrent than your phone number. Then the next day using the customer number and the last four of SSN they ported my number to an internet based service provider. They used the number to receive one time passwords, and to make phone calls to to banks to gain access to my bank accounts.

1) PIN is a good idea Your last four digits of SSN is a bad idea for a PIN, and most carriers use your SSN by default

2) Ask for phone number port freeze from your carrier. The only way to port your number then is to go to a store with your ID. How often do you have to port your number? It is well worth the inconvenience. Not all carriers have this option, ask your carrier, if they don't have it, switch to one that does.

Complaint on phishing with phone number 999-999-9999 use(s) for medical fraud with Presbyterian hospital visit in month of January 2017. Please note NOT federal agency spoof from Los Angeles Polic dEPARTMENT on medical fraud and Identity theft, insider breaking into medical field to steal usnavy identity.

My idenity has been stolen.thru the phone. The hacker must have everything on me. This device in maps shows im home. And i am, all other pages on this device state im 14 miles from here/where the theft is taking place/ ACORDING TO FEDERAL LAW ID THEFT IS A FELONY PROSECUTION BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. That much is the law. I AM CURRENTLY SEEKING COUNCIL TO SUE THE FEDERAL COURT. As well as GOOGLE. MY DEVICE GIVES ME THE LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE AS WELL AS ADDRESS OF THE THIEF. Police are lost in a mud cake they know nothing about cyber theft no investigation or investors fbi lost no way to prove it they say, Have. Your id stolen contact anyone anywhere fbi police trade commission they say here fill this out ( on line)That cant be done my email is hacked everything is hacked. My hacker must be laughing right now. They are compleatly protected by google. THAT IS FACT. GOOGLE IS AIDING AND EMBETTING CYBER TERRORISTS AND TERRORISM ID THEFT YOU NAME IT, Google knows where my hacker is. THE USA GOVERNMENT IS PROTECTING GOGGLE. I am seriously hoping goole will read this. The goverment as a whole needs to wake up today and fix this. Front burner now. Period CAUSE IM PRINTING THIS EVERYWHERE TO EVERYONE EVERY DAY

I submitted a comment three minutes ago. And recived a thank you your commit will be reviewd. Wow how nice of the you. I expect it to be printed my friend. Google can legally set up a terrist camp in California. Have every company in the country useing chrome. They are honest terrist tho. Advertising chrome connection to all devices. At least they are honest about it. Google even has cyber terrorists training 24/7 on line.Showing all how to hack anything,as well as a play store to get the apps to do so for free. We that pay for protection arnt even protected. Think about what i have wrote seriously cause thos who think they arnt hacked havent caught on yet. Even you are probly hacked. No way to fix it ethier none. Id theft is so rampid its a joke. Thank Google And our government for allowing our country to be the most hacked on the planet

Someone is using my phone number to contact people. I do t see any charges on my account. I have my phone. I can't figure how it's happening. The person being contacted has called me back and texted me... even sending me images showing day and time stamp of my # calling him. How is this possible and how can I stop it?!

A scammer is using technology to make it look like calls are coming from your number. He is "spoofing" a number. You won't see charges on your account, because he isn't really using your telephone line.

He is using your phone number to cover up his real phone number. If you want him to stop, you probably have to find him. Usually, when a scammer spoofs someones phone number, he moves on after a while and starts using a different number. If you have an answering machine, you could use the answering machine for a couple days, so you don't have to keep explaining what's going on if people call you back.

This phone number is scammers 4174504563

I've been getting calls lately from people who ask for me by name. When I say this is he, they hang up. Can my identity be stolen this way?

Lots of people know that your name and phone number go together. That's probably in the phone book.

If strangers call, you don't have to talk to them. Don't tell them your Social Security number, or bank account numbers or credit card number.

They might try and trick you into giving up information, but you can say "No" even if they say you won a contest, or need to update your credit card or something like that.

i see a problem within the whole iPhone theft related industry including apple and verizon. how come iPhone find your phone doesn't give the exact location of stolen phone even when its turned off? why doesn't the nyc mayor set up a special task force to stop this ? its not petty crime when its a 700 00 phone i think apple and the carriers want you to get a new phone ---

I got a girl number from a app I'm worried she might be a scammer. I tried reverse look up but it requires me to pay. If I called the number or text it would they be able to steal my information?

Where can I turn in a number that stole 128 dollars from my bank account

You can report it to the FTC at The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. Thank you.

Just received call from a pretend-to be- IRS "officer" threatening me to return his call at 206 607 8252 or face a court action. I called 411 and asked for the Seattle IRS office. Numbers do not match.
Believe impersonating federal officer /agent is fraud on its face. Perhaps your office can track this down and inform me if in fact the call - phone number is registered to a government agency? is/was legitimate? Thank you.

I don't achieve iPhone You say u are lucky winner but I don't give iPhone

I sent a message to a girl on Craigslist she sent me a number back and said Tec her is the a way she can scam me from my number of I Tec her

What happened? Did that text cause you to have identity stolen?

Here's my question... I have a situation with a woman that was in a previous relationship with my boyfriend over 18 years ago and she applies for credit cards, loans, pretty much anything she can and uses my personal cell phone number. About 5 yrs ago she used our home address too. I get harassing calls every single day from credit collector and law firms calling for her. They tell me that she put my name and personal cell number on the paperwork. Most recently she's being sued and she gave them my contact info instead of hers.
Is there anything I can do??! Thanks

When someone is using your personal information to get credit and loans, that's identity theft. You can report this at, and create a report to law enforcement.

You can use the report to place fraud alerts or a credit freeze on your credit report, get fraudulent information taken off your credit report and more. Your identity theft report proves to businesses that someone stole your identity, and makes it easier to correct problems caused by identity theft.

we no longer have privacy when you can type in a name get there address personal info its wrong. say you are hiding from a crazy ex just google the name photo of your home and what ever else about you comes up! WAKE UP.. I have been terrorized past year on cell phone and lap top by hackers.

Somehow, when I got a job working overseas after about 5 months there, I got a call from Sprint Customer service saying my phone bill was up around $10,000. I couldn't believe it, especially since I had not made any calls with my cell phone in that country. The company had Vonage phones in the offices and I would use one of them to make calls. I went around and around trying to convince them that I hadn't used my phone. I asked them why they had let it get so huge before notifying me and they said this was all from within the last week to 10 days. The bill kept rising even though I removed the sim card and put the phone away. Eventually it got to almost $30,000. Finally, after they had finished their investigation I was excused of the debt, but I never found out how such a thing was possible. Upon returning to the U.S. I immediately dropped Sprint since their international calls were like $5/min. anyway as opposed to T-mobile who charge $.20/min.

I receive phone calls from phone numbers that are almost the same as my phone number except the last four digits. It's happening daily for several months. I have a feeling somebody is trying to find my phone number. Once I answered a junk phone call by mistake; they were trying to get some information pretending they need it for some verification and I aggressively stared asking them what's their affiliation. The person on the other side lost their temper and said they were going to sue me and started laughing. What should I do? Change my phone number? How one would know if someone opened new credit cards or applied for loans using their personal info? Thanks.

If you are worried that someone used your personal information to get new credit cards or loans, you can get a free copy of your credit report and review it. Read about how to order your free credit report and what to do if you see errors on the report.

I'm being hacke by my mobile phone I called my carrier and their saying my number is being used on another line last night phone is active now its not that's bs

what happens if ur sister used your name and knows u good but put all my information for a cellphone and her ex husband did the same thing while i never went to another company of a cellphone but the one im with at this momment and have the phone in my hand right now

I had a phone through s.t. prepaid wireless had my number for umpteen years to have someone act like they were me didn't verify identity and they asked to change the number and add to a new phone. That would have red flagged me there. My phone was emergency only and called them they said you asked to changed numbers it's been recycled and I asked they said I couldn't get it back. I lost my number time changing it with everyone my life.

Someone texted my mom pretending to be me and the text showed up under my number what can I do


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