Telecom company T-Mobile is introducing a new security measure for users in the form of Account Takeover Protection. This is to prevent criminals from stealing phone numbers. The telecom provider is thus taking action to prevent a repeat of the SIM swapping incident last December.
T-Mobile customers who have enabled Account Takeover Protection can no longer simply transfer their phone numbers. Normally, when you switch providers, you select the ‘number portability’ button, after which you don’t have to do anything yourself. You switch and you keep your old phone number. If you transfer your number to the same provider after your SIM card is damaged, you can often arrange this via customer service.
T-Mobile is making it more difficult for criminals to steal phone numbers through so-called SIM-swapping attacks. If you change providers, you need an extra security code. You only get this six-digit code by logging in via the T-Mobile app or on the website.
In a statement to The Verge magazine, T-Mobile confirmed the goal: “[We] are introducing number transfer PINs to add an extra layer of security to protect users from unauthorized port outs ”. A port-out is another name for switching SIM cards.
SIM swapping is also known as a Port-Out scam. Hackers or other cybercriminals take control of your mobile phone number. They do this by convincing a telecom company that your number needs to be transferred to another SIM card.
The criminal first collects as much information as possible about his victim. When he asks the customer service of the telecom company to port the number, he is prepared for the verification questions.
At T-Mobile, an extra PIN is now required in addition to the verification questions. However, this is still not a foolproof solution. After all, your T-Mobile account can also be hacked.
Account Takeover Protection is available for T-Mobile business plans and for those with a regular plan. Customers of the related telecom company, Sprint, can also use the feature directly.
Business users should contact T-Mobile customer service to set up the feature. However, regular customers can just log into the T-Mobile app or website to set it up.
People who use a T-Mobile prepaid card cannot set up the feature. After all, with prepaid cards, you do not have an account that is necessary for security.
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