ID thieves have come up with a new scheme. They're now hijacking mobile phone accounts.
The Federal Trade Commission's received thousands of reports from across the country - impacting all four major carriers.
The problem goes far beyond the inconvenience of losing phone service or fighting fraud charges. When crooks transfer your number to new phones - they might get access to your most critical accounts.
A technology writer warns that two-factor authentication - a security measure that confirms account passwords through a text or app on your phone - assumes a person who steals you password doesn't also have access to your phone. Cell phone account hijackers might have both!
"Suddenly your phone stops working and I now have a phone connected to your account, I receive all of your phone calls, I receive all of your texts. For all practical purposes I am now you."
AT&T says its stores require a photo ID and the last four digits of your social before allowing an upgrade or access to an account.
One way to protect yourself - set up a password or pin with your carrier that's required before making any changes to your mobile account.
(© 2016 WFMY)