Mobile Identity Nightmare - Response

Now that Bob knows he has been attacked, how does he attempt to recover his identity?

Recovery from the Attack

  • Bob begins by trying to reach customer support centers at his financial institutions, but couldn’t reach anyone who could help.
  • He could find no way to quickly reach anyone at Google support after hours via phone or email.
  • Initially, the wireless carrier customer service center was unable to help.  Being telecom savvy, Bob was persistent in escalating to get to someone who could help. 
  • Bob had an extra SIM card in the office that he could use to move his number back to his own mobile device.
  • It took Bob over an hour to regain control of his phone number working with his backup SIM card.
  • Bob lost control of Gmail for over 2 hours before he was able to get Google to shut down his account. 
  • Unfortunately, hacked Gmail accounts are considered poisoned by Google, and can not be recovered.  With no backup, Bob lost years of emails and pictures of his family due to the incident.

The Damage is Done

While the average person may not be aware of SIM swap fraud, much less how to prevent it, Bob was fortunate in that his knowledge allowed him to quickly regain his phone number and limit his damages.  He lost his Gmail account but had no financial loss and was not personally attacked.  Bob is not alone.  Attacks occur every day around the world.  

What is being done about this?