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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 IdentityTheft.gov to report the theft and get a personal recovery plan.

Comments

I have a situation where my number is being used for all types of things just 10 mins ago it was uber. I have people calling and texting this person, bill collectors, bail bondsman, legal officers etc. What can I do to stop this? He must be in the area and wanted?

I filed in June 2018, I have had no help. They have hacked my phone so many times the past month. Gmail first, fb, and now I am unable to receive my Gmail it's actually going to my future husband. After being informed to close a certain link, I was starting to panic. My daughter goes mom hold on, then phone rang I answered it was a recording. About my SSN. Then a man with a accent came on line asking me to verify my SSN. My daughter was calling the number. No answer she said mom hang up now. I am angry now. They have my personal information, my Bank's fraud department mortified me stating they are using your personal information. No routing or account but they had me overdrawn 1300. My grandson and I live on less then 800 a month. I have credit cards, I never knew I had. Over 10.000 2 only since June 2016. Never new. I am not paying. They get in my Experion credit account. Taking my personal information. Why am I not getting some kind of help. I finally wrote HELP on Google and got a response. I am furious. I am not strong enough for this, but I am really getting attitude lately. Nothing from Consumer FTC. What must I do next. It's really good I have no clue to who is doing this because My God have mercy on my soul.

Someone name Micheal has been using my cell number for a few years giving it to numerous mortgage companies which are constantly calling me asking for Michael. Not until recently did the caller reveal the full name and address of this person. Is there anyway that someone can tell him to quit using my number? PLEASE!!

I have been checking the missed phone numbers on my Cell Phone, and I have found a number that has called my phone 3/three times. When I check this number it says: Flagged as Identity Theft.
I have tried to find information about this online but no luck, what should I do?

I recently recieved an email from someone pretending to be our COO of our company. They asked for my cell phone number, without even thinking, I gave the number before I realized it wasnt his email address. Now I get calls everyday and i think they have tapped i to my phone. Who do i turn this number into that keeps calling?

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