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SIM Swap Fraud: 2 factor-authentication

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.




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




  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”






  • 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



@darlicious wrote:


At no time do you have to use your real name to activate and create your pm account.

 @darlicious : Payment card entry seems to want real information. But then the name and address is not visible after that.

I agree not to login using an email address. Especially when it's a key to the account.

I still have reservations about the email address verification method. The SMS would need a phone and SIM...why is one replacing the SIM?'s gone. They almost never "go bad". So SMS is mostly useless. That leaves email. I repeat...PIN at clicking Change SIM. Can't see the last 4 yet.


Agreed. When using lost/stolen to suspend the bf can still get important verification codes from anyone offering the voicecall option which is most financial institutions and credit cards.


If you use a credit card.....and if it happens to be yours.....

Retired Oracle / Oracle Retraité

@z10user4 wrote:

@darlicious wrote:


At no time do you have to use your real name to activate and create your pm account.

 @darlicious : Payment card entry seems to want real information. But then the name and address is not visible after that.


@z10user4   I've had my credit card name not match the name on the self-serve account before and I was able to leave it like that for many months. Perhaps it doesn't matter until it comes time to actually charge the credit card, but you can get around that by having the names match when you top up enough to cover several months in advance, and then change the account name for the rest of the time until you need to top up again.

 @SD08 : Slight difference. The profile info can be anything. The credit card entry (yes darlicious..._almost_ always) needs to have the right info. That screen and the profile screen don't need to match. But I have read of one regular who said the names needed to match. But that's not been my experience.


The name on the credit card does not need to match the name on the account. It only needs to match with the credit card issuers info on their account. In the case of a gift card it doesn't need to match anything if that info is not linked to the card.

Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire


Wow, he survived a full cycle???  First time in 22 months - seriously a momentous occasion to celebrate!  I still struggle to understand how someone needs to go through something so regularly.  Heaven forbid you lend him your car... you'll need to report it lost and replace it atleast 5-6x a year!!! ...the mods must also love you! 😂


As for the voice option - I think that's a great idea too.  I'm not sure about it being an oversight, because how often do people actually need their SIMs changed, or similar service performed (requiring 2FA)?  The reason I ask this because sending an email or SMS is relatively simple from a systems implementation perspective.  A voice call, however, isn't so simple, requiring an additional voice/IVR system... (and we all know how I feel about additional 'stuff' - potentially higher prices.)


The underlying authentication design of how there are atleast 3 different "accounts" for example, could be improved, which goes back to your point about changing login usernames/etc.  I suppose a mod could do this, but how often do we usually need to do this too?


I believe they have now disabled it but their was an option to change your self serve account email. The problem was it didn't change it on the back end so password resets got sent to the original email address. Which is probably the original design of that function was to give the account holder the ability to change the login username to not another email but username only they know and if a password reset is needed it gets sent to the accounts registered email as intended.

Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

I think this is a decent solution for now. Is it perfect, probably not but it will give users option to change sim card if they need to do it. I'm not in favor of having pin as that is additional piece of information most of users will not remember/take a note of, so having SMS or email should be ok. I'm reading about possibility of 'hacked email' and I must say that in that case I'm not sure how PM can help you. We need to protect ourselves in multiple ways like with using strong unique passwords, 2FA for critical logins (email, bank, etc). Having option to get an email is probably even better than SMS cause most of people will actually need this to either replace missing or broken SIM card, so not being able to receive SMS to start with. Maybe just we could have an option to add a separate recovery email that would be 'masked' and not visible to somebody who logged in into your account. 

Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire


Yes, I know what you're referring to and believe that function is still there (thanks to @z10user4 for pointing that out to me).  Again, too complicated and at this point............!



I agree that this is a good solution for now.  The more Public Mobile has to set up and maintain, the higher the risk that we'll see some price increases or some sort!  🙂

Model Citizen / Citoyen Modèle

@darlicious wrote:


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.

Yes, that's exactly what I was trying to say. If you wanted to port out, you'd likely want your name to match the request though, so you'd have to change it at that point only when you're ready to initiate a (legitimate) port-out request yourself.