A Brief Guide To Mobile Phone Identity Theft (And How To Prevent It)

Phone scams like number spoofing are a serious concern, but with the right steps, you can keep trouble at bay.

Quick answer: Phone scams include account takeover and number spoofing. To avoid them, activate layered security features on your phone.

With mobile phones playing a crucial role in everyday life, it’s no surprise that security technologies have evolved significantly, making it easier for us to keep our phones safe from unwanted access. Unfortunately, thieves’ tactics are changing with the times, too, which means that phone identity theft is still a major concern for device owners across the nation. Fortunately, with a few essential steps, you can help protect yourself and your mobile device from identity theft.

Phone with incoming call from unknown number

Identity theft tactics

The first step in preventing mobile identity theft is understanding what these crimes look like.

The first step in preventing mobile phone identity theft is understanding exactly what these crimes look like. But like most types of fraud, mobile phone identity theft can manifest in a variety of ways, so we’ll outline a few of the most common:

  • Caller ID spoofing involves a caller sending false information – often including the name and a spoof number that seems similar to that of a legitimate business or a close family member – to the receiving phone’s caller ID display in hopes of attaining financial information or other sensitive details.
  • Phone hijacking, or account takeover, takes place when a malicious party gains access to your phone account through the collection of essential information, which may include passwords or credit card numbers. Phone hijacking may also lead to phone porting, which allows thieves to transfer your number to their device by contacting your carrier and providing your personal information as confirmation of identity.
Identity theft prevention

Although phone identity theft is a serious threat, there are several ways to keep this type of mischief at bay. Activating two-factor authentication is a great starting point. The feature adds an extra measure of security to your most important accounts by requiring not only a password, but another type of barrier – such as a security question – to be bypassed before granting access to your sensitive information. It’s best to use two-factor authentication whenever possible, but it’s especially critical with those accounts that offer access to your financial information.

Another essential tactic is to create a PIN for your carrier account. Much like two-factor authentication, these codes are designed to help ascertain your identity before allowing any major account decisions to be made.

Finally, when it comes to scams like caller ID spoofing, certain apps or phone technologies may come in handy. Some phones feature scam-identification features by default, which make it easy to identify false calls. In other cases, seek an app that delivers similar features on an official app store. If you believe your number is being spoofed, warn friends and family, and recommend they download a scam-identification app that can help block calls from spoof phone numbers.

Choose Net10

Even if you don’t believe you’ve fallen victim to mobile identity theft, be sure to brush up on the latest scam tactics every once in a while, so you know how to keep these troublesome crimes at bay. In the meantime, upgrade your mobile game by bringing your own phone to Net10 today, and browse our low-price service plans to find one that meets your demands.