The Comox Valley RCMP are warning residents about a scam involving their cell phones.

According to a media release, the detachment said they received several reports of the popular cell phone scam.

The scam typically involves SIM card swapping and/or phone number porting which allows scammers access to valuable personal information.

The scammer will impersonate the victim to gain access to their mobile account, start making changes to the account, and then start making changes to other accounts associated with the phone.

“As a result of this type of fraud, thousands of dollars have been lost here in the Comox Valley,” said Cst. Monika Terragni, media relations officer, Comox Valley RCMP.

“In addition to the financial loss, victims are spending countless hours getting their accounts back in order” she added.

Do not answer text messages, click on links or answer e-mails asking for personal information.

If any of the e-mails or text messages are about porting your phone number or if you lose service on your device – contact your service provider immediately by calling them directly.

Here’s how the scam works:

  • Your SIM card connects your phone number and mobile service to your mobile device.
  • You connect dozens of your accounts to your mobile device through the use of apps.
  • Most of these logins are linked to your email address, phone number or both.
  • A fraudster will impersonate you to gain access to your mobile account and may claim that their phone has been lost or stolen.
  • Your phone number will be linked to a new SIM and device that the fraudster controls.
  • The fraudster then downloads a series of the most popular and most attractive apps.
  • They will select the ‘Forgot Password’ button on all apps. If an account is associated with your phone number or email address, the fraudster will receive a verification code.
  • They will then use this code to confirm ownership of the account, create their own password and take over your accounts.

Tips to protect yourself:

  • Keep your personal information personal.
  • It is as simple as not publishing your date of birth on social media.
  • Do not answer phishing emails or text messages looking for you to confirm your password or update your account information.
  • Use an offline password manager.
  • Contact your phone provider and ask about additional security measures that may be available.
  • If you lose mobile service on your device, immediately contact your service provider directly.