Mobile Phone Account Fraud … where crooks open up a phony mobile phone account in your name and use it to access your bank account, sign up for credit cards, or sell the phone number for other criminals to use. While little known among consumers, mobile phone account fraud can have a devastating impact on your finances AND your reputation.
Unlike other types of fraud, there are fewer consumer protections.
It’s also harder to detect, so it can go unnoticed for months. By then, your bank account may be drained, credit card companies may be after you for unpaid bills, and the police may be investigating you for crimes committed in your name.
Sometimes you may not find out about it until the account goes into arrears, and it can take months or years to fix that, not to mention the monetary expense usually entailed. Many people find out only when the phony accounts tied to their names go into default, when they notice their service stops working, or when their accounts are drained.
The biggest step you can take is to put a freeze on the credit information that is used to open a mobile phone account … Equifax, Experian & TransUnion. Goes without say that we should ALL pay closer attention to our mobile phone bills, bank accounts, and other financial transactions from those hell bent on trying to steal it.
MORE WORRYINGLY FOR THE VICTIM … Instead of using your real address, criminals have the mobile phone bill sent to a different address. Once the account is established, they use the phone and pay their mobile phone bills long enough to establish a credit history. Then the criminals apply for credit cards and other loans in your name, opening you and maybe your family up to a mountain of bills.
The sooner you identify and report the fraud, the sooner fraudulent charges will stop and the less likely you’ll be held liable for damages. Be warned.
There is a cooling off period with most of not all mobile phone contract providers … you can return or exchange almost anything you buy from them online, over the phone or at a store … ‘usually’ within 14 days from the day they deliver or handover your product(s).