In these comments, the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), on behalf of its low-income clients, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) strongly support the Commission’s initiatives to develop more comprehensive consumer protections from the dangers of SIM swapping and port-out fraud.
Given the significant and costly losses that are already imposed on the consumers who are victims of these fraud, we urge the Commission to require that carriers take full responsibility for protecting the identity of their customers. Specifically, the Commission should:
1) Provide strong financial incentives to providers to stop SIM swapping and port-out fraud, by
making providers who fail to protect their customers private information responsible for the
losses suffered by those customers.
2) Require carriers to offer a redress program that a) is fully accessible and transparent to all
customers; b) provides timely responses within 24 hours after a complaint is made; c)
provides full coverage of losses to customers who have been the victims of a fraudulent SIM
swap or port-out fraud; and d) includes all information necessary for the customer to
cooperate with law enforcement.
3) Require that in situations where multi-factor authentication cannot be reliably used to certify
the identity of the person requesting the SIM swap, that the swap must occur in a retail store
where identity can be appropriately checked.
4) Ensure that mobile telephone providers prohibit their employees from a) accessing CPNI
until after a customer has been properly authenticated, or b) prompting leading questions or
other mechanisms to enable fraudulent swaps.
5) Affirmatively require that carriers protect their customers from abuse of CPNI access by
making the carriers fully responsible for any abuse committed by their employees.
6) Require carriers to include in their annual reports a detailed list of the complaints that their
customers have raised regarding SIM swaps or port-out fraud, and a description of the
actions they have taken to thwart further problems.