ATLANTA — An Atlanta business owner is cautioning others about a scam where hackers take over your life.
It's called sim swapping and happens when a crook calls a telephone carrier and tricks them into transferring a victim’s phone to their own.
The FBI has been warning people about the scam. It happened an Atlanta woman on October 28.
“It's been a complete nightmare. Like literally,” she said.
She asked 11 Alive not to reveal her identity for fear the crooks will find her.
“I have a trucking business,” she said. “So everything I do is through wires.”
She said she knew something wasn't right when two weeks ago everything started going haywire.
“I was at the office. I was on the phone and in a matter of seconds, everything got shut down,” she remembers. “My computer. My phone literally did a whole factory reset. Then my Android got scrambled and my phone came back on and said ‘your number has been changed’".
And then her life changed.
“My bank notifications. Square. PayPal. Anything you can log into. My Cash App, My Capital One card. It was sending me alerts my passwords were changed,” she said.
“We're seeing these attacks really, really rising,” said Tech Expert Jeff Barron with Critical Path Security.
Criminals will pick their victim, then pick apart their lives after conning cell phone carriers. From there, they can control your bank accounts or other accounts operated through a cell phone. You can also fall victim if you lose your phone.
“[Make sure you have a] pin on cellphone account. Have your phone company add a note to your account to [only make] changes in person,” Barron said.
But even then, he said the move may or may not work.
“[I don’t] know how effective it is. Because sometimes they don't read the note,” he said referring to call center representatives.
But the victim tells us she’s even more vigilant than before.
“This has been life-changing. I don't operate the same anymore. I feel like at every given time they are going to get me again,” she said.
Experts said don't overshare on social media and use stronger authentication codes like Google Authenticator or Duo. Tech experts say any type of phone, iOS or Android can get hacked.
The victim did file a police report with the Atlanta Police Department and is currently trying to get her life back on track.
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