Stolen mobile numbers (unauthorised mobile number porting) | ACMA

Stolen mobile numbers (unauthorised mobile number porting)


Mobile number fraud occurs when a criminal steals your personal information to transfer your mobile phone number to them without your consent.

Your stolen mobile number can then be used to receive SMS verification codes, allowing the criminal to gain access to services such as your bank, email and social media accounts and other services.

How can a mobile number be transferred and stolen without my consent?

After illegally obtaining your personal information, criminals may steal mobile numbers by:

  • An unauthorised mobile number port—the criminal contacts a different phone company and pretends to be you, sets up an account and ports your number.
  • A SIM Swap—the criminal contacts your existing phone company pretending to be you and requests a new SIM card that contains your number for use on their device.

How can I tell if my mobile number has been stolen?

If you unexpectedly find that you have lost phone coverage or reception on your mobile phone service, it is possible that your mobile number has been stolen.

Signs may include:

  • you are unable to make or receive calls or messages when you usually can
  • your mobile phone is showing ‘SOS only’, where reception bars usually appear.

If you’re unsure, contact your phone company to check your account or whether any network-related incidents may have caused the loss of service.

What should I do if my mobile number has been stolen?

  • Contact your mobile phone company and check whether your number was ported or transferred without your consent.
  • If your number was ported to another phone company, request a reversal of the port.
  • If a SIM swap has occurred, ask your phone company to deactivate the SIM card and provide you with a replacement.
  • Contact your bank urgently to alert it to the possibility of fraudulent activity. You may also consider changing your bank passwords.
  • Check your social media accounts for unusual activity and change your passwords.
  • Report any fraud to local police.
  • Report any cybercrime relating to identity theft and online fraud to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
  • Contact IDCARE on 1300 432 273 for support and free assistance for identity crime and cyber-related security.

The rules

The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP Code) sets out the obligations on phone companies to get your consent and ensure any transfer request is from your or an authorised representative.

The Mobile Number Portability Code (MNP Code) sets out the processes phone companies must follow when porting your mobile number from one phone company to another.

The Telecommunications Numbering Plan 2015 (numbering plan) sets out the rules for number portability.

Who manages the rules?

The rules in the TCP and MNP codes—including the authorisation process for porting—are developed and managed by the Communications Alliance (CA).

The ACMA carries out compliance and enforcement activities under the TCP Code, numbering plan and MNP Code.

The telecommunications industry, through CA, is working with the financial sector on new measures to improve customer security and help reduce mobile number fraud.

More information

Contact us:

If you have any further enquiries, contact:

Customer Service Centre
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Last updated: 10 October 2019