While mobile number porting and sim swapping fraud is relatively new and uncommon in New Zealand, when it does happen, it can have devastating consequences. Learn about these two scams, what you can do to protect yourself and what the industry is doing to protect your information.
At Spark, mobile number porting or SIM porting is when a Spark number is ported to another network and vice versa. An example of this is if you change mobile providers.
We use the term SIM swap to describe moving a Spark number to a different Spark SIM card. You might need to do this if you buy a new phone which needs a different size SIM or your old SIM gets damaged and you need to get it replaced.
Mobile number porting fraud happens when a fraudster ports a customer's phone number to their own SIM card. They do this so they can receive text messages intended for the customer. In some circumstances, this can allow the fraudster to authorise bank transactions if the customer is using text message based two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect their bank account. We recommend customers setup up 2FA on their bank account, using app-based 2FA rather than text message.
Because SIM porting involves multiple providers, we’ve worked together with our industry group, the Telecommunications Forum (TCF) to develop measures that help providers confirm that a request for a SIM port is legitimate.
As part of the porting process, customers whose provider has a porting request will receive a text message about the port and must reply ‘YES’ within two hours for the port to proceed. If the number is being ported from Spark to another provider, it will be sent from 2542.
The text message is provided below:
"ACTION REQUIRED: We have received a request to move your mobile [Numberxxx] to another provider. To proceed reply YES to this message within 2 hours. If you didn't request the move then reply NO, or ignore this message and it will be cancelled. From NZ Telecommunications Forum (TCF)".
If you do not respond within two hours the port will be cancelled. You can also reply “No” or “N” to cancel the port. You will then receive a text message to confirm your response.
SIM swapping is usually the last step in an elaborate scheme to steal from the victim. Unlike many other scams, the attacker is usually focused on one individual, and has gained access to their personal information through other means before trying to swap the SIM with their provider.
Just like SIM porting fraud, they do this so they can receive text messages intended for the customer and possibly take advantage of two-factor authentication.
To prevent fraudulent SIM swapping, Spark has implemented a process whereby customers must visit a Spark store and present identification before the swap can be approved.
Here are some tips you can follow to help keep yourself safe:
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