Your phone number can be easily found using open source intelligence (OSINT) techniques. This means any public database or application that has your phone number stored on it can be publicly found. This includes social media, job profiles, and more.
Yes, it absolutely can. A cyber criminal can steal your phone number using a variety of techniques, the main one being a technique called “SIM swapping.” This is a social engineering attack in which the attacker contacts your cell phone provider impersonating you, and assigning your phone number to another device which is controlled by the attacker.
Has My Phone Number Been Stolen?
It is not possible for me to know if your phone number has been stolen without more information. Phone number theft can occur if someone gains access to your personal information and uses it to open a new account or take over an existing account in your name.
A criminal can do this by performing recon on you, your social media accounts, and physical surveillance. Once they know enough about the target, it is much easier to perform a social engineering (psychological manipulation) attack against you.
There are a few signs that your phone number may have been stolen:
- You receive calls or text messages from numbers you don’t recognize, or your phone suddenly stops working.
- You see charges on your phone bill that you don’t recognize.
- You receive notifications from your phone carrier that your account has been compromised.
- Unusual activity on your accounts such as unknown charges,unknown transaction,or unknown account opening.
If you suspect that your phone number has been stolen, it is important to take action immediately. Contact your phone carrier and report the theft. They can help you secure your account and may be able to provide a new phone number. You should also consider changing any passwords or PINs associated with your phone number.
It’s a good practice to monitor your financial statements, credit reports and also to enable two-factor authentication for your online accounts. It’s also important to be vigilant about suspicious email, texts, or phone calls that could be phishing attempts to steal your information.
If your phone number has been stolen, there may be some indicators of the theft. It’s important to be on the lookout for anything suspicious and out of place. A tell tale sign that you may have been targeted in a mobile type attack is getting texts from your own number.
Why Am I Getting Texts From My Own Phone Number?
There are a few reasons why you may be getting texts from your own phone number:
- SIM Swap Fraud: This is a type of phone fraud where a hacker obtains your personal information and uses it to swap your SIM card with a new one. This allows the hacker to receive calls and text messages intended for you, including texts from your own phone number.
- Spoofing: Spoofing is when someone falsifies the sender ID on a text message, making it appear as if the message is coming from your own phone number. This is often used for spam or phishing purposes.
- Auto-reply or automated message system: Some services or apps may automatically reply to incoming messages with a pre-written message. If you have set up an auto-reply or automated message, you may be getting texts from your own phone number.
- Text Forwarding: If you have set up text forwarding on your phone, any text messages you receive will also be sent to the forwarded number. This might happen if you have an old phone, and you are still receiving texts on it.
- Error or mistake: Sometimes, the texts may be coming from your own phone number due to an error or mistake. For example, if you have multiple phone numbers saved in your contacts, you may accidentally send a text to yourself.
It is important to be vigilant and take appropriate steps to protect your personal information, such as by using strong passwords and enabling two-factor authentication on your accounts. If you suspect that your phone number has been compromised, it is important to contact your phone carrier and report the issue right away.
They can help you to secure your account, and may be able to provide a new phone number. You should also change any passwords and PINs associated with your phone number, and monitor your financial statements and credit reports for any unusual activity.
Another overlooked action is to change the account passwords for any mobile apps you have. If an attacker were to gain control over your device then your login tokens could be stolen, making a session hijack type attack very possible.
Phone number spoofing is another type of attack that can occur. This is very common with spam/robo callers as well as cyber criminals.
Can Someone Spoof My Phone Number?
Caller ID spoofing is the practice of causing the telephone network to indicate to the receiver of a call that the originator of the call is a station other than the true originating station. This can be done using a variety of methods, such as using a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service or a spoofing app, or by manipulating the caller ID information sent by the phone network.
However, it is illegal in some countries to spoof the caller ID, so it’s important to be aware of the laws in your area. Now to the most important part; protection against SIM swapping! If you familiarize yourself with these tips then you can be much more prepared for a SIM swapping attack, saving your data and identity from compromise
How Can I Protect Myself From SIM Swapping?
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from SIM swapping:
- Use a strong, unique password for your phone account and avoid using the same password across multiple accounts.
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your phone account, which will require a code sent to a third-party application (Google Authenticator, Microsoft authenticator, LastPass authenticator etc.) in addition to your password to access your account.
Do NOT setup your phone’s SMS text function as your 2FA method, if your phone number has been attacked using SIM swapping, it is very possible that the attacker will see your 2FA codes whenever you attempt login.
If the attacker has somehow compromised your account credentials, the 2FA code is the last piece to the puzzle they need before accessing your accounts.
- Be wary of unsolicited phone calls, text messages, or emails requesting personal information or asking you to confirm account details. Scammers may use this information to perform a SIM swap.
- Monitor your phone account for unusual activity, such as unexpected phone numbers added or changes to your account information.
- Keep your SIM card’s PIN and PUK codes safe, and don’t share them with anyone.
- Be careful with the personal information you share online, as it could be used by scammers to impersonate you and take control of your phone number.
- Contact your mobile phone provider, they can help you to protect your SIM card by adding a PIN, PUK or other security features.
- Keep your device software updated as it may have some security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by the attackers.
By following these steps, you can help to protect yourself from SIM swapping and keep your phone number and personal information secure.