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Thread: Be Careful with SIM Swapping

  1. #1
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    Be Careful with SIM Swapping

    It appears that TF and/or Verizon is now tracking the IMEI more closely.
    1. Turk Forums, a user reported that he swapped a TF/Verizon SIM into another phone. It worked for a few days then yesterday it wouldn't make calls and came up with a message basically saying "The SIM is not being used in the phone it was activated with. Put the SIM back into the original phone to restore your service".

    2. The situation below just happened to me an hour ago and I'm still trying to sort it out.

    Background: I have a BYOP TF/Verizon SIM that I activated in Dec 2018 using the IMEI of a broken Moto G5+. Through some glitches, it has service out to 203x. By combining the remaining units of expiring test SIMs, it has 5900/1600/2.1GB. Let's say its phone number ends with 6789. I've been swapping it into various phones (BYOP and TF-branded) for testing, without problems. This SIM is in my TF account #1.

    A few weeks ago, I got a TF-branded J3 Orbit. I've been using the BYOP TF/Verizon SIM above in it for testing, without problems.

    Today, I turned off the Orbit, took the BYOP SIM out and put its original SIM back in. I added the Orbit to my TF account #2, then activated it with a $15 500/500/500 time card as a new line to get the 7000-point new line bonus. TF web site asked if I wanted to keep my number, I replied No, and gave my home zip code. The site came back with SUCCESS, phone number: Pending, Service End Date: 1/19/2021, Service Days: 30, Balance: 500/500/500. Sounds good.

    I turned the Orbit back on and made some test calls. At first, I got the Verizon message that it had no service and needed an Operator's assistance. Then a text from TF came in, saying Welcome to TF, your phone number is xxx-xxx-6789 (the BYOP SIM's number). Checking its balance in my TF account #2, it shows Expiration Date 1/19/2021, Balance: 6400/2100/2.6GB. So, even though I said I did not want to keep my number, it went ahead and transferred service from the BYOP SIM to the Orbit, combining the units but not the days. I've lost the service that was out to 203x. I think the fact that I was using the BYOP SIM in the Orbit caused this problem.

    Here's my question: In my TF account #1, the BYOP SIM is still listed as if it's active, still shows its phone number ending in 6789, date of service out to 203x, balance 6400/2100/2.6GB (same as in Acct #2), but that SIM no longer works in any phone. What should I do with it? Is there any way to reclaim the 203x service date?

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    Last edited by hpham; 12-20-2020 at 03:49 PM.

  2. #2
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    Considering the balances, looks like TF mixed up the two lines. It shouldn't have asked you if you want to keep your phone number when you activated the Orbit, since it shouldn't think that it has ever had a phone number to begin with.

    People reported that when you turn on a TF branded phone for the first time the IMEI and SIM card get paired somehow. I haven't used TF branded phones much, so don't know the details.

    I would try activating a new SIM on AT&T to move your phone balance to something that doesn't require an IMEI.

  3. #3
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    I would contact Chat support, give them the SIM card number of the BYOP phone, and ask for a new number. Alternatively, you could ask them to transfer the balance from the SIM to your phone.

    Actually, now that I think of it, go to the activation page first, and enter the SIM number of the BYOP sim and see what the system says. That might allow you to get a new number assigned and solidify those old balances again.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rchang View Post
    It shouldn't have asked you if you want to keep your phone number when you activated the Orbit, since it shouldn't think that it has ever had a phone number to begin with.
    TF site always asks that question when you activate a phone/SIM. The question means "Do you want to keep your phone number" from another phone/provider? If you reply YES, it'll list the phone numbers of the devices in your account for you to select (which it'll do a transfer), or you can type in another number not on the list (which it'll then go through a port-in process if it's not a TF number). If you reply NO, it'll ask the zip code of where you use the phone most, then assign a "local" number.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracfoner View Post
    I would contact Chat support, give them the SIM card number of the BYOP phone, and ask for a new number. Alternatively, you could ask them to transfer the balance from the SIM to your phone.

    Actually, now that I think of it, go to the activation page first, and enter the SIM number of the BYOP sim and see what the system says. That might allow you to get a new number assigned and solidify those old balances again.
    It'll try resurrecting the BYOP SIM (with a new number) myself. Not wanting to contact TF due to all the SIM swap activities and the expiration date out to 203x.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracfoner View Post
    Actually, now that I think of it, go to the activation page first, and enter the SIM number of the BYOP sim and see what the system says.
    I did that and it came up with the message "This transaction requires assistance from Customer Care. Please call us at 1-800-867-7183. We apologize for the inconvenience". Not good.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    It'll try resurrecting the BYOP SIM (with a new number) myself. Not wanting to contact TF due to all the SIM swap activities and the expiration date out to 203x.
    Yes this is the way. The service time and buckets are still preserved. Just reactivate the sim (lucky its a byop tf/verizon sim which is reuseable) with a small airtime card. Treat it as if you had ported out your old number. This is the solution outlined here on this tracfone help https://www.tracfoneforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=557277.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by geomobile View Post
    Yes this is the way. The service time and buckets are still preserved. Just reactivate the sim (lucky its a byop tf/verizon sim which is reuseable) with a small airtime card. Treat it as if you had ported out your old number. This is the solution outlined here on this tracfone help https://www.tracfoneforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=557277.
    See my post #6 above. I tried (re)activating that same SIM and got an error message.

    I did an IMEI check of the IMEI that was used to activate that SIM in 2018 and TF web site said the IMEI is Compatible. That means the SIM had been deactivated, the IMEI freed, but somehow the SIM cannot be (re)activated without TF CS involvement.

  9. #9
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    I bought a new unlocked phone (LTE only) and put in my Verizon sim (activated as CDMA less) and got the message that it was in the wrong phone, also get an error message when I tried to call it.. I tried all the tricks I know and could not get it to work.. I knew the phone was not approved for use on Verizon's network, but gave it a shot anyway.. Not sure if that had anything to do with it.. I do have phones that have worked on VZ's network that I could put the sim into and see if they work, but have not done so.. I did not like the phone that much anyway so I just returned it and bought something else that I know was approved for VZ..

  10. #10
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    I still have a phone with SIM swap from a home phone box, and it still works just fine so far.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by advcomp2019 View Post
    I still have a phone with SIM swap from a home phone box, and it still works just fine so far.
    Well, my BYOP SIM was working fine in the J3 Orbit until I tried to activate the Orbit with its original SIM.

  12. #12
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    Hmm...
    Few weeks ago I bought TW branded Moto G7 power. It arrived with a damaged camera. But I tested it with my current BYOP SIM for a day or so. But it back in the old phone (Moto G5+) waiting for a replacement still worked fine.

    Replacement arrived I moved the SIM again. Been using for a week or so.

    I can test in the old phone again, but I expect it'll still work.

    I do plan to officially activate the new phone later, so it can be unlocked later. It might have resale value then. I don't want to keep it as the bootloader can't be unlocked. Only using it because the Android 9 and 10 ROMs from my old phone don't have VoLTE with Verizon.

  13. #13
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    A while back I had a BYOP TF AT&T sim that ended up in two different accounts and then stopped working. Both accounts showed the sim as active and both showed the same balances except that one account correctly showed several years of service and the other account only showed a small amount of service. I logged in to the account with several years of service and upgraded to a blank BYOP TF AT&T sim. It worked. The other account continued to show the old sim as active with the same phone number that I was now using again on the new sim. If your sim is still showing as active, I would try doing an upgrade to any Tracfone that has a Verizon sim.

  14. #14
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    My Rebel 2 and iPoo 6S have each other's SIM cards in VZN.
    Rebel got a text message from my bank this AM.
    I suppose if I want my main line with service through 2025 on the Rebel I should do some transfers instead of just putting the 6S SIM in it.
    Last edited by taxmantoo; 12-21-2020 at 12:01 PM.
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  15. #15
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    I was suspecting that the SIM swapping is following the IMEI of the phone that the SIM gets put into. I have a Samsung Galaxy J3 Sky phone that is activated on TF for a family member. I got a TF Alcatel flip phone and put the Sky's SIM in it so the person can use a smaller flip phone if they want. When I move the SIM to the flip phone it shows up as an activation on that date in the Sky's history on my TF website account.

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