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SIM Swap Fraud: 2 factor-authentication

J_PM
Public Mobile
Public Mobile

Hey Community, 

 

We’re pleased to announce that as of July 14, 2021, SIM card changes have been re-enabled in My Account

 

We have now implemented an additional step in the form of a 2 factor-authentication code to secure this process. This code can be sent via SMS or email, and must be verified to complete the SIM swap.

 

For more details, please see below.

 

Jade_S_0-1626272276129.png

 

All the information below can be found in this Help Article. 

 

What is SIM swap fraud?

Efforts by fraudsters to gain unauthorized access to customer accounts with the goal of accessing banking information is on the rise. As part of our commitment to protect our customers’ personal information, we have robust security protocols in place that are designed to protect the privacy and security of our customers.

SIM swap fraud, or SIM jacking, is a type of fraud that occurs when fraudsters gain access to your Self Serve account, to replace your SIM card information with their own. After replacing your SIM card, all communications will be redirected to the fraudster’s device. They will then be able to intercept recovery SMS/calls, and gain access to your personal banking, ecommerce, email and social media accounts. 

 

How does SIM swap fraud happen? 

 

Fraudsters can obtain customer Self Serve account credentials through malware, phishing attempts or data breaches on websites where login credentials are the same as your Self Serve account. 

 

How do I know if I’ve been targeted by a SIM swap fraud?

 

You may have been a target of SIM swap fraud if you have suddenly lost service for no apparent reason. If this is the case, please follow the below steps to confirm your SIM card information has not changed. 

 

  1. Log in to your Self Serve account 
  2. Select “Change SIM card” from the main page

Jade_S_1-1626272013870.png

 

 

  1. Confirm that the last four digits of the SIM card in Self Serve match the one in your device. If the digits do not match, you may have been targeted by a SIM swap fraud.

 

What do I do if I’ve been targeted by SIM swap fraud?

If you have been targeted by SIM swap fraud, we recommend you take the following actions to secure your account:

  • Change your Self-Serve account password and security question immediately to lock the fraudster out of your account

 

  • Put your phone into Lost/Stolen mode to suspend the fraudster’s service, to do this follow the below steps: 
    • Log in to you Self-Serve account
    • Go to Plans and Add-Ons, then select “lost/stolen phone”
    • Select “suspend service”

 

 

Jade_S_2-1626272013568.png

 

 

  • We also recommend contacting your financial institutions to ensure your banking and credit card accounts have not been accessed, and checking your social media accounts for any suspicious activity. Make sure you change your passwords to these accounts immediately. 
  • You may also want to report the fraud to your local police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501, as well as contact the two national credit bureaus to request a copy of your credit reports and place a fraud warning on your file (Equifax Canada Toll free:1-800-465-7166 and TransUnion Canada Toll free: 1-877-525-3823).

 

How to protect against SIM swap fraud? 

Given the increase the telecommunications industry has seen in fraudulent activity like SIM swaps and unauthorized porting, we recommend that Canadians take the following steps to protect themselves:

  1. Protect your information: limit the amount of personal information about you online; fraudsters can use this information to verify your identity when attempting to swap your SIM. Be careful to not click on phishing emails (and texts) that ask you to provide and/or validate private information. 
  2. Guard your phone number: don’t add your phone number to any online accounts where it is not necessary. The fewer accounts you have associated with your number, the lesser your risk.
  3. Use strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts: using the same password across multiple accounts is a hacker’s jackpot. When you use the same password across different accounts, remember that once they successfully hack one account, they’ve hacked them all.  We also recommend that you change your passwords, including your Self-Serve password regularly.
  4. Set up authentication methods that aren’t text based: often, online accounts will require you to set up two-factor-authentication (2FA) for added protection; with 2FA, you need to authenticate yourself with something in addition to your username and password, such as a code that is sent to your device by text. With SIM swap fraud on the rise, you may want to use something other than your phone number for 2FA like an authenticator app or security key.

 

While Public Mobile is actively working on ways to help keep our customers safe, please make sure to stay vigilant, and be aware of any suspicious activity. 

 

- The Public Mobile Team



 

43 REPLIES 43

SD08
Retired Oracle / Oracle Retraité

Thanks to PM for adding this balance between customer convenience and security.

ShawnC13
Oracle
Oracle

Great news Jade!!! Glad to have this feature back and will help the members so much!

 


I am happy to help, but I am not a Customer Support Agent please do not include any personal info in a message to me. Click HERE to create a trouble ticket through SIMon the Chatbot *

I agree with @z10user4   

 

We seen before that people got simjacked and unable to logon to My Account. So, either their My Account was compromised first or the email was first compromised and then My Account.

 

But of course, many people requiring SIM swap because they lost their phone or the old SIM was broken and hence they were unable to receive the SMS and an alternate way is needed, sadly in this case, email....

 

Let's see how it goes and hope for the best.

 

 

 

BlueB
Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire

Great to see that the option for self-serve SIM Swap is back... particularly for @darlicious's significant other who seems to go through a new SIM every month! 😂

 

In terms of security, I agree that time will tell whether this is an effective solution or not.  It's a great step in the right direction, and the added challenge will definitely make things more secure.  How secure it really is will all depend... if somebody really wants access to your account/SIM/whatever, there are many ways of doing it through any variety of ways, social engineering, technical espionage, or however else.

smp99
Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire

I may be missing something here but I think a 2FA using an Authenticator application that supplies a 6 digit code every 30sec or so, would have been an ideal solution. 

 

 

BlueB
Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire

@smp99 

While a TOTP code (or similar) is a good idea, the "ideal solution" is often tricky to define.  In particular, the logistics behind it would be difficult.

 

For example, let's say this is set up upon activation.  Will the average Public Mobile user know how this works?  If the user changes phones or loses their phone, how would they have access to the application?  This would need to be set up well in advanced and maintained by the user (and Public Mobile).  There are also backend considerations for Public Mobile to maintain... more systems and maintenance = higher cost.

 

Although it's one secure way of handling things, not sure how feasible it actually would be.  The moderators here have been very helpful with problems, and I think it's a small inconvenience for us to involve them for the "occasional" SIM card swap (and now- self serve!) than to pay more every month because this would surely increase the expenses on their end.  🙂

will13am
Oracle
Oracle

It is nice to see this feature make a come back in the self serve and with security feature this time.  

Haiggy
Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

Another step would be that since Public Mobile is all prepaid, you do not need to use your real name on the account, and can be updated to your real name later if you actually did want to make a legitimate port-out request yourself.

@J_PM 

It's good to see pm has implemented a compromise between customer self-serve and account security. However given some of the observations by fellow members that 2FA may not be possible or a customer does not have access to their account or possibly has not created one does the ability to perform a sim swap with the moderators operate in the same manner?

 

Seeing as I have performed this action more than probably anyone here and do so on behalf of the bf who hasn't a clue  how to do any of this..... I cannot perform a sim swap for him if the phone or sim card is lost. Why is there no possibility of recieving the code via a phone call? It makes the verification code accessible without the device and the lost/stolen feature has suspended service.

 

Could we not have an option to change the email and/or phone number used for 2FA? As its been pointed out the blanked out email and phone number is already accessible in the account and a likely source of a breach or hacker or a thief. From an account management side without access to the phone or email it makes a sim swap within the account a non-starter. Not having the phone call option is a huge oversight in my opinion.

 

I still believe having the ability to change the login username from the accounts email would greatly improve account security especially since that ability to perform that action already exists.

 

@BlueB 

The bf did indeed go thru entire last 30 day cycle without enabling lost/stolen and had his rewards actually apply upon renewal! The second time in 22 months that I did not have to contact the moderators to have them applied manually.

@Haiggy 

At no time do you have to use your real name to activate and create your pm account. You can edit those details of your profile at anytime by logging into your self serve account. Changing the account holder name has been employed as an effectuve means of preventing fraudulent ports.