In the last few years, there has been increased activity by nefarious actors in the identity theft and bank hacking. Many bank hacks occur with the loss of control over the mobile phone number, frequently through SIM jacking. There are plenty of sites online that can give information on how best to protect your mobile number from being hijacked.
Losing your mobile phone number is one of the top 2 issues everyone needs to consider, have defensive strategies and also recovery strategies. The other top issue is loss of mobile phone: either through damage or through theft.
SIM-jacking is usually used to steal cryptocurrency or gain access to high-value accounts to send malware to followers. But can also be used to steal your identity, and, in some cases, to steal money from your bank account.
So, how easy is it to lose control of your mobile phone number? After gathering enough <public> information about you – perhaps just your name, date of birth and address – the scammer calls a telco and pretends to be you. Frequently, a new SIM is sent to your home address, and is intercepted by the scammer.
There are significant numbers of defensive strategies available in terms of phone protection, and first steps must be to hide critical information.
In our previous blog on email addresses suggested a clear distinction between work/personal/private email addresses, with private email addresses suggested for critical <bank like> logins.
In the same way, Accounting firm owners should consider their public mobile phone and contact details as harvestable by scammers. So there should be a separate work and personal phone number, and only ever the work phone number posted online.
Consider the following as easily implementable solutions:
- Ensure the public mobile communication number for your work is not linked to any bank accounts
- If your personal phone number is used in a public manner that this personal (now public) number is not used in banking or any critical apps that store bank information. It’s easy to quickly consider how widely a personal phone number can be spread, and given/sold to marketing companies. The solution is to look at an app (non-SIM) provider for your “personal public” mobile number.
- Have a <private> personal number just for banking.
- There are plenty of online apps that allow the creation of a local phone number, or even a mobile phone number. The important thing is to check the mobile phone number is acceptable to your banking system or other apps. Some banks preclude some mobile phone numbers as offered by online service providers. Current online mobile phone number providers are best done through a fresh search online.
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning, a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle, or it will starve to death.”
By ensuring you are implementing better solutions than other consumers, means you are not the slowest gazelle in the forest.