Phone Porting – What should you do if your mobile phone number is hijacked?

 

If you were to suffer a crime in Australia it would most likely be identity fraud. It costs the Australian economy $2.2 billion a year.

A growing component of identity fraud is the illegal porting of mobile phone numbers. Essentially, somebody convinces your telco they are you and has your number sent elsewhere, potentially giving them access to your personal details, such as bank accounts.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Craft, from the New South Wales Police Fraud and Cybercrime Squad, said they have had some success in catching out the scammers responsible for illegal porting.

"Many of the individuals we target here are involved in organised crime. That's their primary focus, that is their job," he said. "We believe in terms of actual losses for the last 12 months, it's about $5.8 million that organised criminal syndicates have been able to obtain because of phone porting."

Professor David Lacey is the managing director of the organisation and professor of cyber security at the University of the Sunshine Coast. He says the criminals are staying a step ahead of the authorities. "It's certainly organised, and in some cases so organised that crims know people are travelling overseas, know that they're not using their phone and are porting their phone before they're landing," he said.

Tips to prevent phone porting: 

  • Don't put too much personal information online;
  • Clear your mailbox so people can't steal your bills;
  • Understand how valuable your name, date of birth and address are to criminals.

What should you do if your mobile number is ported away?

  • Immediately freeze your bank accounts;
  • Go to a police station and report the crime, rather than just phoning;
  • Deal with the telco last, as there's not much they can do;
  • Once that's all been sorted, contact ID Care