Sim-swapping scams have been increasing in recent years. Since most online services are linked to phone numbers, this technique can potentially ruin victims' lives. The Federal Communications Commission seeks to establish new rules to prevent SIM swapping scams, as well as port-out fraud. These are both techniques that aim to steal people's identities and phone numbers.
According to the commission, it received many complaints from consumers who suffered financial distress, inconvenience, and significant distress as a result both of these hijacking methods. SIM swapping refers to the act of convincing a wireless carrier that a victim can transfer their service to a phone they own. Port-out fraud is when a bad actor transfers the victim's number and service to another carrier.
The FCC is proposing to change the Customer Proprietary Information (CPNI), and Local Number Portability rules to make it more difficult for scammers to control victims' numbers. It wants providers to use more secure methods to authenticate a person's identity prior to agreeing to transfer their service over to a new phone or another carrier. A rule is also proposed by the commission that requires providers to notify customers when a SIM switch or port-out request is made.
These proposals are now open for public comment as part of FCC's rulemaking process. Before the commission can make a decision on whether to amend the rules, it must still read the proposals.