Authorities in Penticton have issued a warning to the public regarding a new phone scam taking place across the South Okanagan. (File)

Authorities in Penticton have issued a warning to the public regarding a new phone scam taking place across the South Okanagan. (File)

Penticton RCMP warn of new ‘port-out’ scam that targets online banking

Two-factor verification has been the go-to way to keep online accounts secure

Mounties have issued a warning to the public about a new phone scam making its way across the South Okanagan.

In a news release Tuesday, RCMP in Penticton explained that this cellphone ‘port-out’ scam was recently seen by their officers and is becoming an increasingly popular method for scammers to steal from unsuspecting citizens.

“The scam involves a scammer finding one’s name and phone number and then attempting to gather as much information about you,” Const. James Grandy said.

RCMP explained that the scammers then use this information to contact your mobile provider and request your number be ported to a new phone.

READ MORE: RCMP warn of tax phone scam reported in Okanagan

Once they have your number ported to a new device, the scammers are able to gain access to internet accounts, which require sending a verification code to your phone. This mobile verification code has become a popular way for businesses to keep accounts secure – also called two-factor verification – and is used by online banking and social media apps.

Authorities gave several tips to protect yourself against this scam.

First of all, ask your phone provider to set up a unique pin to prevent porting without your authorization. Secondly, watch for your cell phone disconnecting from cell service. Third, be wary of texts and emails you receive that request personal information from you.

“If you become a victim of this kind of scam, please report it to your local RCMP Detachment,” Grandy said.

The Western News previously reported in October that a warning was issued to the public of scammers pretending to be the Canada Revenue Agency, with their phone ID’s disguised as West Kelowna RCMP.


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