ET, phone...someone else?
October 9, 2012 8:53 AM   Subscribe

My phone wasn't working this morning because someone had activated another phone using the same number. Is this a scam? How do I protect myself?

This morning my phone, an iphone 4s, wouldn't connect to anything other than wifi. I called Verizon to see what's up and the technician, who was very helpful, asked me if I had filed a claim on a lost phone with the insurance company. I hadn't. It appears as though someone had filed a claim for a replacement phone and it was somehow activated using my phone number. The tech said this was probably due to a typing error someone along the line, someone (whether the user, the insurance company, or Verizon) had accidentally entered my number instead of the correct number.

Is that something that could reasonably happen, or am I on the receiving end of a scam?
posted by troika to Technology (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
As long as Verizon gives you your number back and doesn't charge any minutes or data used during that period against you, if it is a scam, it's on Verizon, not you.

It sounds like it's just a minor cock-up, to me.
posted by zjacreman at 9:00 AM on October 9, 2012

My guess is the ten digit number is only associated with the phone's ESN due to data that someone enters in the system somewhere, so their story seems perfectly plausible to me. Doesn't seem likely you can get ahead of the game somehow with the phone company or the insurance company by associating your claim with someone else's phone # intentionally, unless you enjoy getting other people's calls.

I'd watch your next statement or two to make sure the phone's deductible doesn't get on your bill, but it sounds like an innocent mistake.
posted by randomkeystrike at 9:02 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

This happened to me when I activated a new phone. The CSR input a typo and I didn't know until I started receiving multiple wrong-number calls (well, right number, wrong person).

So, yes it's something that could reasonably happen.
posted by erloteiel at 9:35 AM on October 9, 2012

I've had enough woes with phone companies to be willing to assume that this is someone at Verizon's end screwing up rather than a scam.

Also consider: even if it was a scam, Verizon was pretty quick to fix it; and there is now a record of your having reported the problem as soon as you discovered it, so if you do see any weird charges you can go "remember when I called on October 9th? I spoke to someone who did thus-and-such and he said bla-da-blee, so I shouldn't have to pay, right?" so you should be able to reverse any charges with a minimum of fuss. As scams go, one that gets fixed right away with no impact on the victim is pretty weak.

But more likely it was a phone guy with clumsy fingers. I wouldn't worry.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:37 AM on October 9, 2012

This happened to me and it turned out that Comcast had accidentally given my number away. Their "solution" was to insist that I accept a new number, after years of the old one, and let bygones be bygones. It took over a week to get it sorted out and Comcast was thoroughly unhelpful. Good luck.
posted by Sculthorpe at 10:53 AM on October 9, 2012

Thanks! I feel a lot better now. Definitely will keep a close eye on my statement! Probably still will get a new debit card, etc, just in case.
posted by troika at 12:13 PM on October 9, 2012

There is no evidence here that your debit card has been compromised. Even if someone cracked into your Verizon account, they STILL can't see a credit card number. If you look all over your online screens for your own credit card number, you won't see it. There's a place to enter a NEW one, but the credit card numbers are masked in a typical online presentation of the data, for just this reason.
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:35 PM on October 9, 2012

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