The FCC says new guidelines will curb SIM swapping. I’m pessimistic

Illustration of a smartphone with the word

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After years of inaction, the FCC this week mentioned that it is lastly going to guard shoppers towards a rip-off that takes management of their cellphone numbers by deceiving staff who work for cellular carriers. Whereas commissioners congratulated themselves for the transfer, there’s little cause but to imagine it would cease a apply that has been all too frequent over the previous decade.

The scams, generally known as “SIM swapping” and “port-out fraud,” each have the identical goal: to wrest management of a cellphone quantity away from its rightful proprietor by tricking the staff of the provider that companies it. SIM swapping happens when crooks maintain themselves out as another person and request that the sufferer’s quantity be transferred to a brand new SIM card—often below the pretense that the sufferer has simply obtained a brand new telephone. In port-out scams, crooks do a lot the identical factor, besides they trick the provider worker into transferring the goal quantity to a brand new provider.

This class of assault has existed for effectively over a decade, and it turned extra commonplace amid the irrational exuberance that drove up the value of Bitcoin and different crypto currencies. Folks storing giant sums of digital coin have been frequent targets. As soon as crooks take management of a telephone quantity, they set off password resets that work by clicking on hyperlinks despatched in textual content messages. The crooks then drain cryptocurrency and conventional financial institution accounts.

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