This holiday season, thieves may be after more than just gifts or money. They may also be after access to your mobile phone account.


Caller ID “spoofing” is one technique used by criminals to falsify the telephone number and/or name that appears on a person’s Caller ID so it appears as if the calls are coming from another source, like a well-known company.


These criminals then use another tactic called “social engineering” to trick customers into sharing personal information over the phone, allowing them to gain access to wireless accounts.  Before ending the call, the fraudsters ask personal verification questions which could include things such as social security number, passwords, address and last name.


Recent reports show scammers are using this information to gain access to wireless accounts.  Once they have access, they can transfer wireless service from a customer’s SIM card to a device in the criminal’s possession.  All wireless customers, regardless of carrier should be aware of these scams, as they could be impacted.

Spoofing and social engineering scams have been around for some time. However, criminals are always changing their tactics, so we’re reminding customers to be aware of these schemes and remain cautious. We recommend customers follow these tips issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to avoid becoming a victim of any of these known scams:

 AT&T offers the following simple tips for consumers:

·         Never give out personal information in response to an incoming call. Identity thieves are clever – they often pose as representatives of banks, credit card companies, creditors, or government agencies to get people to reveal their account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords and other identifying information.

·         If you get a call from a company or government agency seeking personal information, don’t provide it. Instead, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to find out if the entity that supposedly called you actually needs the requested information from you.

·         More information on Caller ID spoofing and fraud is available from the FCC: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/caller-id-and-spoofing


Victims of social engineering scams can file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.


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