In just ten months, Canada’s telecommunications regulator documented 24,627 cases of possible phone number fraud, according to an investigative report from The balloon and the mail.
The report indicates that 21,589 of those cases, nearly 88 percent, were unauthorized number ports, and the other 3,038 were identified as SIM swaps.
The attacks took place between August 2019 and May 2020.
Both the Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and Canadian telecommunications operators have long refused to release their data on phone number fraud.
in a Twitter thread, Globe and mail Telecommunications reporter Alexandra Posadzki described how they obtained the classified information.
In 2018, after being a victim of a SIM swap, I wanted to write about my experience, but I ran into a problem: there was no way to determine how often this type of fraud occurs. Is it a big or a small problem? No one knew, other than the carriers, that they weren’t disclosing the data.
– Alexandra Posadzki (@alexposadzki) September 28, 2021
Posadzki said they began investigating phone number fraud after “falling victim to a SIM swap” in 2018.
Interestingly, the request for access to information and privacy sent to the CRTC single-handedly yielded “four fully redacted pages.”
To receive the actual and unredacted data they requested, the reporter filed a formal complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
SIM swapping, also known as port-out or simjacking scams, is an ongoing problem in Canada.
Ontario Provincial Police and West Vancouver Police issued public warnings about this new form of digital scam in 2019.
Most recently, in March 2021, Public Mobile temporarily closed its online SIM swapping self-service option for customers, in an effort to prevent instances of SIM swapping fraud.
To protect yourself against SIM swapping, one of the first steps is knowing how to recognize it; the most common way is for your phone to suddenly and inexplicably lose service.
For more information, see our consumer resource guide on SIM swapping.
Source: The balloon and the mail