SIM card fraud scams have been on the rise in recent years, and since most Internet services these days are tied to people’s phone numbers, this technique has the potential to ruin the lives of victims. Now the Federal Communications Commission is working to create new rules to help prevent SIM replacement fraud and port fraud, and both techniques are designed to steal people’s phone numbers and identities.
The commission said it had received a number of complaints from consumers “who have suffered significant distress, inconvenience and financial damage” as a result of both methods of abduction. SIM replacement is a technique in which a bad actor convinces a wireless operator to transfer the victim’s service to the phone he is operating. When a bad actor successfully transfers the service and the victim number to another carrier, it is called port fraud.
To make it more difficult for fraudsters to control the phone numbers of potential victims, the FCC wants to change the user ownership network (CPNI) information and local number portability rules. In particular, providers are required to adopt more secure methods of authenticating a person’s identity before agreeing to transfer the service to a new phone or other mobile operator. The Commission also proposes a rule according to which providers should inform users whenever a change of SIM card or request for exit is made on their accounts.
As part of the FCC rule-making process, the public can now comment on these proposals. The Commission must read these proposals and offer the public another opportunity to have their voices heard before deciding whether to amend the above rules.
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