T-Mobile is trying to deal with a port out scam by sending warnings to avoid having more customers fall victim to fraudsters, but for some, the damage has already been done. The carrier is now facing a lawsuit after a man got his number ported illegally by a scammer who then stole his cryptocurrency. The port out scheme seems to be in full bloom and T-Mobile has been sending messages to its customers, urging them to call support and set up Port Validation to ensure that unauthorized people can’t port their number. The man who is suing T-Mobile, however, claims that he did have Port Validation in place, and his number was still ported without his knowledge or consent.
The plaintiff, Carlos Tapang, claims that he did have a PIN set for Port Validation on his account, which should’ve been mandatory for a port out request to be completed. According to the complaint, a scammer contacted T-Mobile impersonating Tapang and asking to port his number to AT&T. T-Mobile reportedly honored the request and ported the number despite the Port Validation supposedly protected by a PIN. Once they succeeded in porting the number over to AT&T’s network, the scammer then managed to change the password on one of Tapang’s cryptocurrency accounts and clean it out. The fraudster reportedly took 1,000 OmiseGo units and 19.6 BitConnect units, then sold them for 2.875 Bitcoin. One Bitcoin was worth roughly $7,000 at the time, so the loss was substantial by any metric.
The complaint notes that the scammer was able to drain Tapang’s account because T-Mobile could not contain the security breach until the next day. Tapang had called T-Mobile immediately after noticing that he lost connection to the network, unaware that his number had been fraudulently ported, yet T-Mobile failed to deal with the problem in a timely manner. Port Validation is supposed to add an extra layer of security so that unauthorized people cannot port one’s phone number by pretending to be the account holder. Tapang argues that T-Mobile failed to provide “reasonable and appropriate security” which cost him energy, time, and money, as well as emotional distress. Consequently, Tapang is taking the carrier to court for breach of contract, negligence, and violating the Washington Consumer Protection Act and the Federal Communications Act, seeking damages and an injunctive relief.