SIM swap: police suggest upping your authentication process with cellphone service provider in the face of new scam that allows bad guys access to your phone

You may not be aware it is even happening

A high-tech new scam making the rounds could allow bad guys to seize control of your cellphone.

The Orillia OPP call this the Port Authentication Scam, also known as the SIM swap scam. It starts when a fraudster calls your cellphone service provider pretending to be you and requests that your number change to a different provider. Depending on your verification or authentication method with that provider, the fraudster may only need to know minor details about you: name, email, age, postal code.

Once your account is transferred to a different provider, the scammers then have access to your SIM card information, the data stored on the small chip installed on every phone that makes it unique. This could allow access to online accounts such as PayPal which could be used to rack up purchases on your credit card.

Police say this takes minutes to pull off, and you wouldn’t even be involved in the process. The OPP says the best way to protect yourself from this scam is to call your service provider and ask for a higher level of authentication.