“At 5:55pm, I got a text message from my telco. It said, ‘Hi, received your port out request for this service,’” he says.
In April 2018, Stefan Trueck was driving home from the supermarket when he got a strange message on his phone.
“By the time I tried to call them, my phone already went to SOS only. Before I could even react, my number was gone.”
As it turned out, Stefan, a professor of business analytics at Macquarie Business School, was being scammed. Within an hour, criminals had reset his banking password and accessed his accounts.
“They had my customer ID , and you can do a password reset if you have the customer ID and mobile number,” he explains.
“It was really professional. I had daily limit of $10,000, so they sent $10,000. They bypassed that limit by opening another account inside my account, which you can do online, and then they transferred another $10,000.”
Thankfully, Stefan quickly notified his bank and the transactions were reversed.
But the experience left a lasting impact. With the help of Macquarie University and the Ecstra Foundation, Professor Trueck set up SIMProtect, a series of online resources to help people avoid the scam.
“For me, it was relatively harmless. But they could have taken out a loan in my name, they could have reset all my passwords, they could have accessed my email accounts. So much harm can be done.” How scammers are adapting to new laws
Since Stefan was targeted in 2018, it’s become harder for scammers to port phone numbers to new providers. “If I want to change providers, before the standard was put in place, I just had to give my name, my date of birth and my address,” says Fiona Cameron, chair of ACMA’s Scam Telecommunications Action Taskforce.
“We put a standard that said that’s not enough. “Now if I want to change my number, they will send me a four-digit PIN code, that will prove I have the device in my hand. It’s upped the ante on the security that’s required for changing telcos.”
Crypto scam on Instagram A young man wearing a jumper looks at an iPhone.
Jonathan was sucked in by a scam on Instagram promising easy riches. It ended up costing him and his friends more than $20,000. It’s made it more difficult for scammers to transfer numbers to new providers, but they’ve found a new way to achieve a similar outcome.
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