How to Combat “Mobile Phone Port-Out Scams”
Fraudsters are impersonating mobile phone users to have phones transferred to a different carrier – effectively stealing the users’ mobile phone number. This is being coined as “a port-out scam.” Once transferred to a different carrier, the fraudster receives all calls and texts that were intended for the user – including those that can be used to takeover a member’s account via online banking. Please note that Pathways DOES NOT USE this form of account access for logging into our Online Banking system – and so your Online Banking at Pathways is safe from this activity. This is just a general notice to keep you aware of the latest scam trend.
Security experts recommend that you place a “port validation password” on your mobile phone account to help prevent having their phone fraudulently transferred to a different carrier.
While cyber criminals continue to devise new methods of gaining access to personal data and funds, there are a few “staples” to always be on the lookout for. Listed below are their descriptions and a link to a PDF with more information, courstesy of the Federal Trade Commission.
Prize Scam – Telltale sign: You’ve won a major prize, but you can’t receive it until after you send money.
Health Care Scam – Telltale sign: You have medicare and a card that proves it, but scammers tell you that your need a new card.
Paying Too Much – Telltale sign: Being charged for a service you didn’t order, or unexpected charges appearing on your bill.
Charity Scam – Telltale sign: Someone calls to ask you to donate money to a charity, but asks for it to be wired.
Imposter Scam – Telltale sign: Someone (could be a government official, someone you know, or someone you met online) needs you to send money for an emergency.
Identity Theft Scam – Telltale sign: Someone asks you to reveal personal information, such as Social Security Number or financial account numbers.
More Government Information
CLICK HERE to learn more about these scams and others on the Federal Trade Commission’s website for consumers.
CLICK HERE for a list of common fraud scams and situations compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
IRS Imposter Scam – Cyber criminals are known for taking advantage of tax season, and 2015 has proven to be no different. Here’s what happens: you get a call from “the IRS” claiming that you owe taxes and will be arrested if you do not pay them immediately. The scammer will ask you to wire the funds you “owe,” or put it on a pre-paid debit card. The caller may harass you with threats of deportation or a revoked driver’s license. Warning – they may know your Social Security number, or push the call through a fake caller ID (known as reverse engineering) so that the call shows up with the IRS phone number. These tactics are an attempt at at seeming more legitimate so you will be more likely to send funds to settle your debt. Once you send the money, though, it’s gone for good.
If you legitimately owe money to the IRS, you will first be contacted by mail, not by phone. Also, they will not specify a way for you to send the funds (like wiring or mailing a pre-paid debit card). If you receive a call like the one above, be sure to:
1.) Avoid giving the caller any personal information.
2.) Write down details such as the phone number and caller name.
3.) Hang up the call.
4.) Contact the IRS if you’re worried the call may be real at 1-800-829-1040 or visit www.irs.gov.
5.) Report the call. File a complaint with:
- The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) – www.tigta.gov, 1-800-366-4484.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – www.ftc.gov/complaint, 1-877-FTC-HELP.
6.) Let your friends and family know so that they can protect themselves from scams.