Protect Yourself Against Phone Cloning
Phone cloning has been a popular action movie theme for years, but the concept is actually based in reality. It involves copying the identity of one phone to another. In fact, in today’s digital world mobile phones can be a major source of security breaches. And as frightening as it sounds, the only thing a hacker needs to launch a major attack is your phone number.
Why clone a phone?
Hackers clone phones so they can make calls and access the phone’s data – all billed to your account. However, that’s just the beginning.
Phones often contain enormous amounts of personal information. So, once the hacker has access to the phone, they can cause devastating financial damage. The hacker may be able to listen to you from his or her own phone and watch you through your camera. He or she may also be able to read your messages, access your passwords, and view your contacts.
There are a number of ways to clone a phone, the easiest being specialized software that’s readily available online. Hackers can also program a new phone to transfer the serial settings and phone number from an existing phone.
How can you tell if your phone’s been cloned?
You may not know your phone has been cloned until you notice unusual financial activity. However, you may detect hints that the phone has been cloned, such as lots of wrong-number calls, difficulty making outgoing calls or retrieving messages, and unfamiliar numbers on your phone bill.
How can you protect yourself?
- Here are some steps you can take against phone cloning:
- Review your phone bill for unfamiliar numbers and charges; if something looks suspicious, have your provider check for viruses that may have resulted from cloning
- Use another phone to call your number and see if someone picks up
- Contact your financial institution to verify whether anyone has tried to open credit cards or loans in your name
- Make sure your phone is password-protected; create different passwords and PINs for all accounts accessible on your phone
- If you suspect cloning, you may need to restore your phone to its factory settings
- If you determine your phone was cloned, contact your phone provider and your local police department immediately.
While this method of fraud is out there (and not just in movies), you’re now well-informed to be on the lookout for phone cloning and what to do should you fall victim.