T-Mobile makes it harder for criminals to steal your number by slipping employees $300

Hackers tried stealing T-Mobile numbers by slipping employees $300. That won't work now
A few weeks back, employees of T-Mobile and Verizon reported receiving texts inciting them to swap customer SIMs in return for a payment. The news was a source of concern for customers, leaving them with limited options to safeguard all the accounts tied to their number from bad actors. It also didn't help that the carrier issued an unsatisfying statement regarding the matter. Thankfully, T-Mobile will reportedly soon enforce a measure to prevent unauthorized SIM swaps. 

An illegitimate SIM swap is when someone fraudulently hijacks your number by transferring it to a different phone. This is dangerous because it gives a hacker access to everything associated with your number, including your financial accounts, email accounts, and social media accounts. They can even text friends and family from your number and convince them to send money by pretending the number holder (you) is in an emergency. 

Bad actors have been sending barrages of texts to T-Mobile employees recently and asking if they would like to be paid $300 per SIM swap. Previously, customers were at the mercy of the ethics of front-line retail employees and customer service representatives but T-Mobile has thankfully realized that that wasn't enough protection and has devised a system to protect you from takeovers.
According to an internal document seen by The Mobile Report, T-Mobile is changing how SIM swaps are approved. 

The company will put in place a system called "Account Change Engine," or "ACE," that will assess whether a SIM change request is legitimate. If the ACE system says no, the customer will have to confirm via SIM that they are who they are claiming to be and they indeed want to move the line to another SIM.

Previously, SIM change requests were sent via SMS for approval or denial and if the text was not responded to within 10 minutes, the change was automatically authorized by the system.

Under the new system, the change will not be approved until a customer responds with a yes within 10 minutes.

It's not clear how the "ACE" system will work but it will presumably be an AI-powered system and determine whether a request is legitimate by looking for signs such as whether someone bought a new handset. 

If someone needs a new SIM for a line they are no longer in possession of because, for instance, they lost their phone, they'll able to use another line on the same account for the verification process. Those with only one line will have to visit a store with their ID.

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These measures will make it harder for bad actors to get ahold of a customer's SIM by bribing employees.  

The changes will begin taking place from today, April 25.

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