Your mobile phone number has become increasingly valuable because it’s the way that hackers can gain access to your online financial, email and social media accounts. We now are encouraged to use our smartphone and attached phone number to prove who we are – often via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), a method that requires not only entering your username/email address and password into a website, but also entering a code or responding to a prompt sent to your cell phone.
But what if someone gained access to your mobile phone – or increasingly more common – your mobile phone number? Hackers that successfully SIM swap or port-out your phone number would have access to reset/change “forgotten” passwords and gain access to online financial, email and social media accounts.
Fortunately the major wireless carriers have taken steps to let you thwart hackers and prevent your phone number from being taken from you without your prior knowledge. It involves contacting your wireless carrier.
Instructions for the major U.S. carriers are below. If you use an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) such as Consumer Cellular or Spectrum Mobile – call 611 from your wireless phone and ask to setup a port-out PIN or other port-out/SIM swap protection to prevent unauthorized porting of your phone number without your prior knowledge.
It’s important to protect your phone number before a hacker poses as you and takes over your phone number before you get a chance to protect it. If you need help with protecting your phone number, contact your tech.