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What to do if your number has been stolen

Sometimes criminals steal mobile phone numbers.

There are steps you can take if you think someone stole your number.

Signs to look for

Someone might have stolen your mobile number if:

  • you cannot make or receive calls or messages when you usually can
  • your mobile is showing ‘SOS only’ where reception bars usually appear

If you notice those signs, check:

  • your phone account
  • for any network incidents that might cause the loss of service

Tell your telco if you suspect someone stole your number. 

How someone can steal your number

If a criminal has your personal information, they can steal your mobile number in a couple of ways:

  • An unauthorised port—the criminal contacts a new telco and pretends to be you, sets up an account and ports your number.
  • A SIM swap—the criminal contacts your current telco pretending to be you and requests a new SIM card that has your number.

Once a criminal has your number, they can receive SMS verification codes. This means they can get access to services such as your bank, email and social media.

What to do

If you think someone has stolen your mobile number, contact your telco. Ask whether someone ported your number without your consent. If they did, ask your telco to reverse the port.

If someone made a SIM swap (has a SIM card with your number), ask your telco to deactivate the SIM card and send you a new card.

Make sure you also:

  • contact your bank straight away and tell them someone might be committing fraud 
  • consider changing your passwords for accounts such as for your bank, email and social media
  • 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 if you want help with identity crime or cyber security

Through the Communications Alliance, the telecommunications industry is working with the finance industry to reduce fraud on mobile phone numbers.

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