A Saskatchewan farming family was recently victimized by a phone porting scam.
Malicious hackers were able to convince the Johnson family’s service provider to switch their number over to a different phone.
From there, the hackers were able to gain access to passwords and personal information. Their bank account was completely drained, though they have since been refunded.
Dave White, a co-founder of TRINUS Technologies, thinks this case can help bring awareness of these phone porting attacks.
He said it’s surprisingly easy for bad actors to pull the scheme off. He pointed to a study in the USA that showed 70 per cent of service providers ported numbers with a name and number as the only security questions.
“As soon as their cell phone gets compromised, chances are the hackers then have the ability to access all the accounts and information that’s available,” he explained to 650 CKOM’s Brent Loucks.
“You’re thinking your phone is a very personal and private device, but as soon as all the information leaves your phone… you’re left in the dark.”
Online banking passwords, social media accounts, shopping apps and more can be harvested with this method.
He’s also not surprised the Johnson family fell prey to this type of scam as he thinks farmers are prime targets.
“Rural Canada does not have good internet access. They have fairly decent cell phone coverage, but internet access generally isn’t as good, so of course, you start relying on whatever communication device you’ve got… of course, that turns out to be your cell phone,” he said.
White thinks the best course of action is to reach out to your provider to install extra layers of security, though what they offer can differ based on the company.
“For example, Rogers allows a PIN (personal identification number) to be associated with the phone account.”