How To Protect Yourself From Hackers Hijacking Your Phone Number

Have you ever forgotten a password? Of course, we all have.

It can be annoying, racking your brain trying to remember what credentials you used to login.

But the solution is fairly easy to handle. With just a little bit of information, you can request a reset of your password and very quickly be on your way.

Convenience, right?

What about when it happens to something a little more important, like your mobile account?

Imagine if a hacker called up your mobile provider - Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, or AT&T - and asked them to transfer control of your phone number to a device under their control. Once they have control, they can reset passwords on every account that uses your phone number as a security backup. Like your Google, Twitter, or Facebook account, and worse, your mobile banking accounts.

Imagine sitting at your desk and your computer restarts; you’ve lost control. You pick up your phone to discover the same thing has happened with your mobile. Same for your iPad. That’s when you know you’re in trouble.

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blogs/techftc/2016/06/your-mobile-phone-account-could-be-hijacked-identity-thief

Unfortunately, it’s happening on a more frequent basis. As mobile devices continue to take more precedence in our daily lives, as we continue to use them for more of our daily activities, they have become ripe for the taking. And while a wide range of companies from financial institutions to email providers have implemented tougher security, such as two-factor authentication where it requires a password and a code it sends to you via text message, mobile providers are not as up-to-date in their security measures. Hijackers have taken over phone numbers by knowing easy-to-get data.

So how do you keep your phone number safe from hijackers?

Use a passcode on your account

You use a passcode on almost everything; why not your mobile account? This is a basic precaution. And many customer service reps forget to ask, instead relying on things like your address or last four digits of your Social. But adding a passcode can be your first step in the line of defense.

Create a mobile specific email address

Up until now, you probably have one or two email addresses that you use for everything. One account, one email - it makes life easier. To vamp up your security and to protect you from hackers trying to take over your mobile devices, we suggest creating a mobile specific email address. Use one email as your primary, one for other sensitive accounts such as Facebook or online banking, and another for your mobile carrier. That way if your primary email address is compromised, they can’t have immediate access to your phone number (and vice versa).

Disable online access to your mobile account

Yes, this is annoying. You’ll have to go to the store or call in to make changes. But if you have a lot of sensitive data on your phone, it’s one less way a hijacker can hack into your account.

Request changes be made only in person with a photo ID

Have highly sensitive material on your device? Take the next step in security and request that changes can only be made in person with a photo ID. It’ll stop everyone but the most ruthless of hijackers, and will help you maintain safety with everything you keep on your device.