Grapevine Police

Grapevine Police Warn of Phone Number Takeover Scam

The department has had three cases of porting in one week

NBCUniversal, Inc.

In the last week, the Grapevine Police Department said it’s had three cases of people reporting their phone numbers stolen and transferred to new devices.

It’s called "porting" or a "port-out" scam.

“Someone is stealing their cell phone numbers and transferring it to another phone. As someone gets control of their cell phone or number, they can start getting into their bank account and other things,” said the Grapevine Police Department's media manager Amanda McNew.

Kimberly Trauba realized she’d fallen victim when her phone stopped working on the drive to work Tuesday morning.

“I couldn’t access my phone. It wanted a password. And so I knew something was wrong,” Trauba said.

When she called Verizon, she said she was told she no longer had a number with the provider, that it had recently been transferred to T-Mobile.

“I did nothing to give them access, and my phone number had been reassigned to a different phone company last night,” Trauba said.

As she worked to regain control, her number remained in the hands of a supposed thief for nearly 12 hours.

Though Trauba doesn't believe any of her information was stolen, McNew said it could easily be done when scammers reset passwords using two-factor authentication. Many applications do so by emailing or texting a code, which the thief can now easily get.

“With technology, there’s always going to be ways that thieves try to get your information, and this seems to be the new way," McNew said.

Following hours on the phone with both Apple and Verizon, Trauba reclaimed her cell phone number of nearly 15 years and warned others.

She said she'd ignored a notification the night before asking her for a log-in for a new phone, which she knew wasn't her and thought she could simply dismiss.

Grapevine police urged everyone to set up a pin code with their cell phone service provider to be used whenever changes are made on the account.

Verizon responded to NBC DFW's request for comment saying, " Verizon is continuously making strides to enhance the security and protection of our customers information.  Customers should download the My Verizon App to stay informed and take advantage of the latest security enhancements. Verizon has made a number of enhancements to protect our Customers against SIM Swapping and Unauthorized Port-Outs."

The company said it offers both enhanced authentication steps along with the ability to enable a port freeze that prevents this kind of fraud.

T-Mobile said it also provides information to help customers prevent account takeover fraud on its website.

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