NEW SCAM: guard your cell number just like bank account

We tell you this a lot: protect your personal information such as those important numbers (social security and bank account.)

But now the latest scam prompts a warning to guard your cell phone number as well.

It seems some crooks are getting access to a person’s cell phone number and then contacting the carrier and talking someone there into transferring the number to “another” cell phone, i.e. that belongs to the crook.

The idea is to be able to see someone’s text messages which in some cases can help the scammer take charge of the person’s credit card or bank accounts.

Security experts like Keith Barthold, ceo of DKBInnovative say it’s basically hijacking your cell phone. “And if they can change a password, then they have access to your account,” he says.

Barthold says if someone has enough information (like your phone number and address and knows where you bank or have credit, they can attempt to get into the account and change the password. In this day and age, some companies will want to verify it’s the right person so they send a text message with a code to change the password. And that is how someone just getting your cell number and now ever the phone itself, could be damaging to your finances and allow them to steal personal information.)

Barthold says the best thing to do is have a PIN number or code on your account with your wireless carrier. “That way if someone calls in the carrier is not gong to be authorized to do the forwarding without having that PIN number.”

Barthold also says even if your carrier doesn’t require such a code or PIN, in this day and age you can’t be too careful so make it a point to establish that security on your account anyway.

He also says in terms of your accounts “to be very careful as to your security questions you’re using for resetting passwords.”

He says the simple days of being able to use your mother’s maiden name may be over. Opt for tougher answers to tougher questions and try to have more than just a few security questions. “Set hard questions that only you would know,” Barthold said.

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