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Mobile number porting and SIM swapping fraud

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.

What’s the difference between mobile number porting and SIM swapping?

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 or sim porting fraud

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.

How are we protecting you?

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. 

  • If you have ordered a SIM card, the mobile confirmation text may take up to 48 hours. It will be sent between 8am to 5pm.  
  • In some cases, you may not receive a text message, such as larger business orders as there are other approval measures in place.

SIM swapping fraud

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. 

How are we protecting you?

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.

Stay alert

Here are some tips you can follow to help keep yourself safe:

  • If your phone stops getting coverage or seems to drop off the network in an area where it would normally have no problems, use another device to contact your bank as soon as possible so they can temporarily stop any transactions occurring.Make sure you are aware of the above processes so you can respond immediately should your mobile number be compromised.
  • Then contact Spark to look into it. For Spark contact details, see the Contact us section below
  • Set up 2FA protection for your bank account but avoid using text message based 2FA for this if you can.
  • Always keep your personal information safe. This includes items like bills and account numbers.

Contact us 

Use the contact details below to get in touch with us:

  • Message us


  • Call us: 
    • Consumer customers: 123 or 0800 123 123 
    • Business customers: 126 or 0800 BUSINESS
    • Corporate, Enterprise and Government customers: contact your dedicated Service Desk
    • If you are overseas, there will be a specific number to call depending on your location. Find the number to call
  • Visit us:

Helpful FAQs

We'll send you a text message when a request to port your mobile phone number is received. The text advises you that your mobile number is about to be ported to another provider. It also gives you the chance to contact your existing provider to cancel the port if you didn’t request it.  We also recommend contacting your bank immediately.

From August onwards, you may alternatively receive a text message request to confirm your porting order is valid depending on which operator you are switching from. If you receive this type of text message, you will need to respond with “Yes” or “Y” before your port can complete. If you did not request to port your mobile number, respond with a “No” or “N” so the port does not proceed. We still recommend contacting your bank immediately even if you are able to cancel the port.

We recommend contacting your bank immediately as a fraudster might be trying to access to your bank account.

Mobile port informational text 

If you have received the mobile port informational text, you must contact your existing mobile provider to stop the port. If you are currently with Spark, please contact us immediately.

Mobile port confirmation text

If you have received a mobile port confirmation text, respond with “No” or “N” immediately. You will receive a confirmation text message once your order has been cancelled. Please do so within 2 hours of receiving the text, for the port to be cancelled. If you do not receive the confirmation message or are still in doubt, contact your existing mobile provider.

If you believe your mobile number has been fraudulently ported to a new provider, contact your bank immediately. Then get in touch with your existing mobile provider to get your number back.

Your mobile will need to be switched on with coverage to receive the mobile port confirmation text. If you are not connected to a network, and don’t receive and respond to the mobile port confirmation text with “Yes” or “Y” within two hours, the porting order will be cancelled. Your number will not be ported. If you would still like to port your mobile number, you will need to contact us to arrange another porting order. 

If you are unable to receive or respond to the mobile port confirmation text, you must contact your existing provider to get this fixed. You need to be able to receive and respond to the mobile port confirmation text to authorise the port.

If you did not reply within two hours or responded with a “No” or “N” to the mobile port confirmation text, your order will be cancelled.  If you would still like to port your mobile number, contact your new provider and request another order.

Services such as online banking, will send a text message with a unique code. You then need to provide this code when you log in to their service or to approve transactions. If a fraudster gains access to a mobile number, they will receive all the voice calls and text messages intended for that number. They can use this to request the unique code and gain access to your bank account. They could also use your mobile number to make calls impersonating you in attempt to access to your accounts. 

Once you have activated your eSIM or physical SIM card, they behave in the same way. There is no difference in risk of fraud in mobile porting between the two.

If you are wanting to move your mobile number to Spark, you will need to be in New Zealand in order to request the port. You will need to be able to authorise the port if a mobile port confirmation text is sent for your approval.

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