MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There is a new identity theft scam making the rounds, including right here in Minnesota.
WCCO’s Kate Raddatz has more on how hackers are using phone numbers to drain bank accounts.
When you request a new password for logging into Facebook or a bank account, you have the option to have a code texted to your cell phone. Now, thieves are using that information to steal your money.
“They basically steal your cell phone number and once they have that, that opens the door to all kinds of things,” Dan Hendrickson with the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota said.
The Better Business Bureau put out a warning about a Porting Scam. It’s where con artists find out personal information about you before calling your cell phone company. They pretend to be you and say their phone has been stolen.
Then, they can cancel your service, get a new phone and use your information online to reset passwords with a texting code.
“I actually was on the phone with my brother and my phone just completely died,” Tina Anderson said.
Tina Anderson from Shakopee was a victim of the Porting Scam in January. She said thieves had canceled her phone, set up a new one and almost drained her bank account within an hour.
“I had to change all of my passwords with all of my credit cards and anything related to my phone,” Anderson said.
Tina was able to get a hold of her bank and cell phone company quickly, before more damage was done. The Better Business Bureau says there have been three confirmed cases in the metro area so far.
“Not to panic people but just to let them know what to look out for and what they can do to be proactive to prevent this scam,” Hendrickson said.
So what can you do? The Better Business Bureau says the best way to protect yourself is to set up a unique PIN number with your cell phone company in order to make any changes to your account. That way a con artist will have an extra layer of security to get through.