The Federal Communications Commission is taking additional steps to combat SIM swapping scams with proposed new mobile carrier rules…
The Federal Communications Commission is attempting to stop port-out fraud — or at least severely mitigate SIM swapping scams — with new proposed rules. These types of schemes have been on a steady rise over the past few years and cost victims dearly. (Not only monetarily, but in privacy and time and effort.) If the proposition goes into effect, mobile carriers would be required to adopt more secure customer authentication methods.
FCC Proposes New Rules to Prevent SIM Swapping Fraud
Because most online services are now tied to people’s phone numbers — through measures such as two-factor authentication or 2FA — the illegal technique has the real potential to ruin victims’ lives. It works by someone impersonating a legitimate mobile customer, contacting the carrier’s customer service. Usually, the scammer pretends the SIM card or Subscriber Identity Module has been lost or accidentally left in an old device that’s no longer available. Once the thief has convinced the carrier’s customer service representative that they are legit, the criminal is able to have the victim’s phone number reassigned to a new SIM.
Of course, this effectively puts the scammer in control of the victim’s identity. From there, it’s easy to reset passwords, control 2FA text messages, as well as access accounts, emails, digital payment systems, social media, and even banking accounts. Obviously, this is a form of identity theft and could quickly result in serious financial harm before the victim is even aware it’s happening.
If the FCC’s new proposed rules go into effect, it would mandate carriers adopt more secure methods in authenticating a person’s identity before agreeing to transfer their service to a new phone or to another carrier. Additionally, it would require providers to notify customers whenever a SIM switch or a port-out request is made on their accounts.