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Thread: Update about SIM swapping

  1. #1
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    Update about SIM swapping

    Yes, TracFone knows every time you swap the sim from one phone to another.

    Now that I have decided I like the HSN Moto G Power 2020 I checked to see if I could transfer my service to the sim that came in the phone. I had put my TF BYOP sim in it for testing, moving it from new to old phone a couple of times in a couple weeks.

    The original sim that was in the HSN phone has been purged along with the plan that was attached to it and the TF BYOP sim is now paired to the HSN phone by using it in the HSN phone first instead of the sim that came in it.

    TF knew how many times I had sim swapped and gave me a little lecture about not doing it again. Said next time my account could be deactivated.

    Yes, I lost the 1500 minute plan on the HSN bundle, I knew that could happen to begin with, @hpham told me that could happen, but that's no biggie. Went into that one with my eyes wide open. I think I got off easy, I still have an active phone that I like with all the minutes, etc. I had when I started this journey so I'm a happy camper.

    Just wanted to share this experience so others would know what there in for if they decide to try what I did

    A special thanks to @hpham and all the others that gave me advice and helped me figure things out!

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the update. Sorry it was a tough lesson, at least you were mentally prepared to accept that outcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NanaC View Post
    TF knew how many times I had sim swapped and gave me a little lecture about not doing it again. Said next time my account could be deactivated.
    Why would they deactivate your account for SIM swapping? Is this because TF doesn't want people to buy cheap HSN bundles only for the airtime and then swap back to their original phones?

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    So is SIM swapping only a problem on the sims that come bundled with phones, or also on true byop sims? I ask because I had to activate my byop sim on a spare phone (Tracfone would not accept my actual phone IMEI, some bug in their system) but it worked fine in the actual phone. (The 'donor' IMEI is still my phone, just not used on Tracfone at all)

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    Quote Originally Posted by phonetower135 View Post
    Why would they deactivate your account for SIM swapping? Is this because TF doesn't want people to buy cheap HSN bundles only for the airtime and then swap back to their original phones?
    Harvesting the airtime on the bundles seems to be common. But after you activate the bundle, you leave the sim there, and officially transfer everything back to the old phone/sim (assuming Verizon).

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    Quote Originally Posted by pitflyer View Post
    So is SIM swapping only a problem on the sims that come bundled with phones, or also on true byop sims? I ask because I had to activate my byop sim on a spare phone (Tracfone would not accept my actual phone IMEI, some bug in their system) but it worked fine in the actual phone. (The 'donor' IMEI is still my phone, just not used on Tracfone at all)
    As long as Tracfone can't see the imei/sim keeping different company.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    Thanks for the update. Sorry it was a tough lesson, at least you were mentally prepared to accept that outcome.
    Your welcome.

    Yes, thanks to you I was ready. Really appreciate all your info, advice and help!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by phonetower135 View Post
    Is this because TF doesn't want people to buy cheap HSN bundles only for the airtime and then swap back to their original phones?
    That's not the reason. Two factors are at play here:
    1. The original SIM of a TF-branded phone is paired with the IMEI of that phone in TF system. You're not supposed to break that pairing. In the old days of non-smartphones, that pairing was strictly enforced. If you put another SIM into a TF-branded phone, you would get a message "Unregistred SIM" and the phone has no service. With smartphones, that pairing is not controlled as tightly; when you put in another SIM, the phone will work if the SIM is compatible, but there could be "consequences" as in the OP's case.
    2. Verizon wants to pair a SIM being used on its network to the IMEI of a phone that's on its "whitelist" (compatible, not stolen, not still on contract, etc). When you activate a BYOP TF/Verizon SIM, you have to provide the IMEI of a whitelisted phone. People did that, then swapped the SIM to other phones for various reasons (old phone broke, changing phone because they got bored with the old one or just want a change, testing, etc). Up to recently, TF and Verizon knew when SIM-swapping occured but didn't do anything about it. Now, when you swap SIMs, they pair the SIM to the IMEI of the phone being used with it. Let's call that "automatic pairing".

    Normally, automatic pairing wouldn't cause any big problems, just "weird things happen". But in the OP's case, the combination of the two factors caused a problem. When the OP put her active BYOP TF/Verizon SIM into the TF-branded HSN phone for testing, it was automatically paired to the HSN phone. When that pairing occured, the original SIM of the HSN phone was voided and purged from TF system. However, that SIM has a bundled 1 year of service and 1500/1500/1500 in the buckets. When that SIM was purged, that bundled year and units are lost.

    If TF wants to deactive the account, they can claim that SIM-swapping broke the Terms & Conditions Agreement.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pitflyer View Post
    So is SIM swapping only a problem on the sims that come bundled with phones, or also on true byop sims? I ask because I had to activate my byop sim on a spare phone (Tracfone would not accept my actual phone IMEI, some bug in their system) but it worked fine in the actual phone. (The 'donor' IMEI is still my phone, just not used on Tracfone at all)
    I always used my TF/VZW BYOP sim in unlocked phones without any problems.
    First time I ever tried it in a new TracFone.

    Believe me when I say if your using a TF/VZW BYOP sim in a TF branded phone they know what phone it is and what sim card is being used in it. They are keeping track of it now.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by phonetower135 View Post
    Why would they deactivate your account for SIM swapping? Is this because TF doesn't want people to buy cheap HSN bundles only for the airtime and then swap back to their original phones?
    In my case because I had swapped the sim from old phone to the new phone a couple times for testing TF assumed it wasn't me doing that. If your phone is stolen they will deactivate the account to protect you. Once I assured TF I was the one doing the sim swapping and after I got a little lecture about doing it all was good. I also told CS rep that next time I would do it the correct way thru CS.

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    You had the option of returning the bundle to HSN and asking for a replacement.
    I should have stated that option earlier for you to consider.
    Making a mistake shouldn`t have cost you airtime worth $125.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracfancier View Post
    You had the option of returning the bundle to HSN and asking for a replacement.
    I should have stated that option earlier for you to consider.
    Making a mistake shouldn`t have cost you airtime worth $125.
    I don't know that there is a cost effective way to return the phone to HSN since there's no prepaid shipping label in the box. I tried UPS and was quoted $15-20 to ship it back. Might as well buy another $50 bundle for the airtime (sometimes there are coupons), and sell the extra phone or use it for another carrier's trade-in offer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phonetower135 View Post
    I don't know that there is a cost effective way to return the phone to HSN since there's no prepaid shipping label in the box. I tried UPS and was quoted $15-20 to ship it back.
    Whenever I sell a Tracfone and the buyer wants it in the original packaging, I use a Priority Mail Padded Envelope, 12.5"x9.5", flat rate $8.55 regardless of weight.

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    This only seems to apply to VZW SIM cards, not ATT or TMO.

    I've swapped SIM cards multiple times in my g6, but the original TF/VZW SIM is the only VZW SIM the phone has ever seen...the others are ATT or TMO, which I don't believe care about or report the IMEI of the phone, so the TF/VZW SIM never gets "unpaired" on the system.

    So I guess the bottom line is to never swap around SIM cards that are on the VZW network, however sticking an ATT or TMO SIM into a phone that normally uses and is paired up with a VZW SIM is fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracfancier View Post
    You had the option of returning the bundle to HSN and asking for a replacement.
    I should have stated that option earlier for you to consider.
    Making a mistake shouldn`t have cost you airtime worth $125.
    It was my fault, just kept going back and forth between the HSN phone and the old phone trying to decide if I wanted to keep new or stay with old.

    At least the HSN phone alone is worth what I paid for the bundle and thats $30 less than what TracFone is selling just the phone for.

    I'm 59, too old to live with regrets. Just learn from my mistakes and not make the same ones again. All is good.

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