T-Mobile subscribers should enable this new security feature ASAP to prevent being a victim of fraud
Looking to address SIM swap fraud, T-Mobile has launched new features designed to protect its customers. The Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card is used by your phone to connect to your wireless provider so that you can make and take calls, send and receive texts, and connect to the internet. Since they are "smart cards," SIM cards contain data, some of it personal such as your phone's unique IMSI number, contact information, billing information, and more.
Several years ago, a T-Mobile customer was the victim of a SIM swap scam. A bad actor calls T-Mobile to report that his SIM card is damaged and asks for a new one to be shipped out. With the help of someone on the inside, the new SIM card, containing the victim's information, is shipped to the bad guy who inserts it into his phone giving him control of the victim's apps. Using this method, a gang was able to wipe out bank accounts across the country including the theft of Bitcoins then valued at $470,000 (now worth $16,800).
How to enable T-Mobile's SIM Protection feature
T-Mo Report, T-Mobile has launched its SIM Protection feature which allows the carrier's customers to block any changes to SIM cards on their lines unless the block is removed. To remove the block, a two-factor authorization code is sent to the legitimate owner of the account which in theory should prevent SIM swap scams from taking place.According to the
If you see a message like this but didn't ask for a new SIM card, you're a victim of the SIM swap scam
T-Mobile customers will need to enable the feature via the app or the T-Mobile website. If you don't have the app installed, you can download it for iOS or Android phones by tapping on this link. If you want to use the website, click here.
If you're turning the feature on using the app, open the "Account" tab and go to Profile settings > Privacy and notifications > SIM protection. You'll then see a screen showing all of the lines under your account with a toggle switch to the right of each line. You can go through each line to toggle on SIM protection on individual accounts. Or, at the very top of the page is an option that says, "Toggle SIM protection for all lines in this account." With one tap, you can protect everyone on your T-Mobile account.
If you're using the T-Mobile website, tap the magenta-hued "My account" button found in the upper right corner of the screen. After logging in, tap on Profile > Privacy and notifications > SIM protection. Similar to the app, a screen will appear showing all of the lines under your account with a toggle button to the right of each one. You can enable the service line-by-line, or tap the button at the very top of the screen that says "Toggle SIM protection for all lines in this account."
Set up the feature now for some peace of mind
The only difference between the process on the app and the website is how you get into your account. To reiterate, with the app you get the ball rolling by tapping the "Account" tab and with the website, you tap the magenta "My account" button on the upper right corner of the screen.
Again, once SIM protection is enabled, no changes can be made to the SIM card or an eSIM. The latter is an embedded SIM card that is mounted on your phone's motherboard and it replaces the physical smart cards that are placed in a tray and inserted into your handset.
T-Mobile, on the app and website, says, "A SIM securely stores your subscriber identity on your phone electronically or on a removable card. Swapping a SIM between devices is a legitimate service that allows customers to upgrade or replace a lost or stolen device. Unfortunately, SIM swap fraud is on the rise..." which is why T-Mobile is offering the SIM Protection feature.
To save yourself from being a victim of a SIM swap scam, we suggest that you take the few additional minutes required to enable SIM Protection on your T-Mobile phone.