In today’s times, by gaining access to someone’s phone number, another person can gain access not only to their personal information but also their finances, bank account details and passwords. Through this blog post,  we will discuss the possibility of having one’s phone number stolen and misused for scams and what are the steps that can be taken by the owner to minimise the consequences of such an incident. We will also explore the ripple effect that gaining access to one’s phone number may have on their bank account or credit and debit cards.

What To Do If Someone Uses Your Phone Number?

If someone uses your phone number especially to make scam calls to people and this comes to your knowledge, you should use the below suggestions to avoid falling prey to their scams: 

  • contact the Action Fraud hotline on 0300 123 2040 
  • file a complaint on the Action Fraud website https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
  • inform the people in your contact list to avoid scams
  • alert the local Neighbourhood Watch scheme

Simultaneously, you should be careful about not giving out personal, especially financial information on a phone call.

If someone is using your phone number due to the fact that they have stolen your mobile phone, you should report the theft and also restrict access to your device as well as the information in it by blocking your device remotely.

In order to keep your mobile protected from being misused by scammers, follow the below guidelines:

  • stay familiar with the security policies of your network service provider
  • set up a password to keep your mobile or device locked when it is not in use
  • make sure that no passwords or financial information are saved on your mobile device
  • if your device gets stolen, immediately inform your network service provider and deactivate it

However, the matter becomes more serious when a scammer asks for the bank account details, debit or credit card number of the recipient and then seeks to scam their deposit and savings as this could potentially cause significant damage.

How Can A Stolen Number Be Used In A Mobile Phone Fraud?

A stolen number can be used in mobile phone fraud in many ways. Some of the common ones are discussed below:

Missed call scam in which the user’s phone registers a missed call. When the user calls back on that number they are redirected to a premium rate service which can cost up to £15 per call.

A recorded message scam is one in which the recipient is informed through a recorded message that they have won a prize. They will then be asked to call on another number to claim it and the second number may be a premium rate one. 

Text message scam that sends a text from a number that the recipient doesn’t recognise, but it will be worded as if it’s from a friend and you may be asked to transfer some money to them or subscribe to a service that deducts a significant amount of money.

Phone insurance scams have become very common lately with consumers buying expensive mobile phones and seeking insurance for them. Such scammers can call you to sell fake insurance or ask you to subscribe to their service through payment.

Even though the amount lost through a scam may be insignificant, the number that is being used will be considered a scamming number even though it may not even belong to the guilty party.

Can Someone Get My Credit Card Details Through My Phone Number?

Yes, someone can get your credit details by using your phone number if you have saved them on your phone, you are using your phone to make credit card payments or you have an app for credit payments on your phone. Sometimes the person may have all the necessary information regarding your birthday and home address and only needs to make a phone call to your bank from your phone number to get access to your bank account or make payments using your credit card.

The first and immediate action you must take after realising that someone has used your credit card is to call your credit card company and inform them of what has happened so that your credit card can be blocked by them and no further transactions can be conducted.

Your next step should ideally be to inform Action Fraud of the incident. You can choose to use their online tool or call on their helpline at  0300 123 2040.

It may also be wise to check and change your passwords and PINs not only on any other credit or debit card but also on email addresses as well especially if you have been using a shared or public laptop or computer.

While these are immediate steps to be taken in case of your credit card is stolen, you may need to continue monitoring your bank statements for the next few weeks or even months. You will also need to consider whether you have shared your credit card details with anyone and make sure not to repeat this in the future. 

Conclusion:

Not only does this article explain the potential misuse of one’s phone number in case it gets stolen, but it also explains how the number can be used to scam other people and even gain access to the owner’s financial data. Therefore, even if someone suspects having their number being misused (even if their phone is not stolen) they must alert their friends and family by circulating a message across their network and informing the Action Fraud department.

FAQs: What To Do If Someone Uses Your Phone Number?

What can someone do if they have your phone number?

In addition to gaining access to personal messages, if someone has your phone number they may even send malicious messages to your network, learn your pin codes and passwords or even gain access to your bank account details.

Can someone hack your phone with just your phone number?

No, someone cannot hack your phone with just your phone number. In fact, they will need your device in order to be able to hack it.

What if a scammer has my phone number?

If you come to learn that a scammer has your phone number, you should inform your network service provider immediately, explain the situation to them and ask them to freeze your number. 

Do banks refund stolen money?

Generally speaking, banks refund money stolen during credit card fraud. However if there is evidence of the credit card owner displaying negligence in losing the card or sharing personal details and putting their financial data at risk, banks have the prerogative not to refund the stolen money.

Will my bank refund me if I get scammed?

Banks are usually known to refund money taken through scams or fraud but you must inform your bank as soon as you realise that you have been scammed.

References:

Mobile phone fraud

Number spoofing scams – Ofcom

Credit card fraud

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