Posted by Amy Gross on 1/10/20 11:53 AM

US-Capitol-Building-Dome-Interior-Photo-Credit-courtesy-of-washington_org_-2-1US House and Senate Members Urge the FCC to Protect Consumers from SIM Card Scams 

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and five House and Senate members have asked the FCC to do more to protect consumers from scammers who hijack phone numbers to hack bank accounts and other personal information.  Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., and Reps. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Calif., Yvette D. Clarke, D-N.Y., and Ted Lieu, D-Calif., joined Wyden to urge FCC Chair Ajit Pai to use the agency’s authority over wireless carriers to protect consumers against these so-called SIM swap scams. 

“Consumers have no choice but to rely on phone companies to protect them against SIM swaps — and they need to be able to count on the FCC to hold mobile carriers accountable when they fail to secure their systems and thus harm consumers,” the members wrote. 

“As the primary regulator of the wireless industry, the FCC has the responsibility and authority to secure America’s communication networks and protect consumers who rely on those networks. To that end, we urge the FCC to initiate a rulemaking to protect consumers from SIM swaps, port outs and other similar methods of account fraud,” the members added. 


SIM swap scamThe members asked for responses to the following questions by February 14: 

  1. Does the FCC track incidents of SIM swapping or port-out fraud, e.g., through its consumer complaints system? If so, how many reports has the FCC received in each of the last thirty-six months? 
  2. Criminals use port outs to move numbers to their own service with a different carrier. Do you believe that the current number porting rules (e.g., 47 CFR § 52, the North American Numbering Council recommendations or the LNPA WG Local Number Portability Best Practices) or the rules for Changes in Preferred Telecommunications Service Providers (47 CFR § 64.1100 et seq., “anti-slamming” rules) are sufficient to prevent fraudulent ports? 
  3. Criminals can use SIM swapping to access the historical call records of their victims, as the carrier online account web sites often rely on SMS for password recovery. Does the FCC believe that the carriers’ legal obligation to secure their customers’ call records under 47 USC § 222 extends to protecting customer online accounts from this form of hacking? 
  4. Does the FCC provide consumers with information on steps they can take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of illegal SIM swapping. If not, why not? 
  5. In other countries, banks can obtain the most recent SIM swap date of a customer from their carrier to flag potentially suspicious log-in attempts. Does the Commission consider SIM activation dates to be customer proprietary network information or otherwise restrict carriers from providing this information to third parties with the customer’s permission? 
  6. Do the FCC’s CPNI rules prevent mobile carriers from reporting illegal SIM swaps to law enforcement authorities? 
  7. Has the FCC received reports of violations of CPNI involving the hacking of the wireless carriers, including computers in retail stores and those used by customer service agents? 
  8. Has the FCC initiated investigations or taken enforcement actions related to these reports? 





The Regulatory Mix Today:  US House and Senate Members Urge the FCC to Protect Consumers from SIM Card Scams, FCC January Open Meeting 



FCC meeting roomFCC January Open Meeting 

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the tentative agenda for the FCC’s January Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 30, 2020.  The following items will be considered:

  • Establishing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund – A Report and Order that would adopt a two-phase reverse auction framework for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, committing $20.4 billion in high-cost universal service support to bring high-speed broadband service to millions of unserved Americans.  
  • Hearing Aid-Compatible Handset Rules –A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would propose to incorporate a new technical standard for determining whether a wireless handset is hearing aid-compatible and to simplify and update the FCC‘s hearing aid compatibility rules. 
  • At-Home Call Handling for Video Relay Service –A Report and Order that would adopt regulations on the handling of Video Relay Service, or VRS, calls by communications assistants working from their homes.  
  • Electronic Delivery of Notices to Broadcast Television Stations – A Report and Order that would modernize certain cable and satellite television provider notice provisions in Part 76 of the FCC’s Rules by requiring certain notices to be delivered to broadcasters by e-mail instead of on paper.  
  • Enforcement Bureau Action – The FCC will consider an enforcement action (no details provided.) 


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The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.




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Topics: FCC January Open Meeting Agenda, SIM Card Scams, SIM swapping, Local Number Portability Best Practices

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