Across the world, fraud involving your mobile phone number is increasing exponentially. With your mobile number, criminals can find as much information as they can about you and use it against you for their personal gain. Mobile number fraud can be devastating; victims just in Australia lose on average more than ten thousand dollars for every reported fraud attack. Using your cell phone number, fraudsters can take control of your online identity — wreaking havoc on your social media and bank accounts, emails and text messages.
The number one rule: Do not share your mobile number on public social media.
Using your personal mobile number across your social media and messaging apps sounds fine at first glance, but you’d be surprised how easy it is for fraudsters to locate your number. Keep in mind that social media often contains information that criminals can use to try to impersonate you – if you share your mobile number there it creates a “one-stop-shop” for opportunistic criminals to get the information that they need. Combined with your email address, criminals know that once they have your mobile number they can access your bank details and much more.
Social media and messaging apps are believed to be the primary source for information gathering used to perpetuate this scam.
Criminals may be seeking usernames and passwords before or after attempting a phone device swap – if they can get the password to your online banking account, for example, and then steal your number, they can get around both the password and the dual-factor authentication. If you just shared your mobile number on social media, for example, the odds that you will receive a phishing email or text go up dramatically.
Staying vigilant sounds exhausting, but it’s easier than you think by de-linking your personal number to another number that’s not attached to any of your personal details.