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FCC Takes Action Against SIM Swapping & Port-Out Fraud

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has revealed new rules that are meant to protect consumers from SIM swapping and port-out frauds. These scams have become increasingly common in recent years.

SIM swapping is where scammers trick mobile carrier employees into transferring the victim’s phone number to a new SIM card, and taking control of their account.

Port-out fraud is where the scammer transfers the victim’s phone number to a different carrier without authorisation.

These scams are now so common that an entire industry is attempting to facilitate them. SIM swapping has also been used to target and breach major organisation networks.

New FCC rules state wireless providers must implement secure authentication methods before transferring a phone number, and must immediately notify customers of any SIM changes, or port-out requests.

These rules, however, lack specific details on what secure authentication is or immediate notification.

While these actions are heading in the right direction, the effectiveness is still to be seen. The challenge is implementing effective security measures, while at the same time dealing with a range of different carriers with varying levels of employee training, and security cultures.

Until then, consumers are urged to take steps to protect themselves, including enabling PIN or verbal password protection for accounts, and following additional precautions recommended by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).

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