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New scam uses cell number to access your bank account

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BATON ROUGE - Baton Rouge resident Cody Wartman received this text last week.

"T-Mobile alert: We have identified an industry-wide phone number port out scam and encourage you to add account security."

He ignored it thinking it was a scam. Turns out, it really was T-Mobile warming customers about a real extortion--one that Wartman ended up falling victim to.

It's called a port out scam and it's affecting cell phone users around the country. Here's how it works. A scammer uses your cell phone number to find out some of your personal information. They use that information to call your cell phone carrier and have them cancel your service, but keep your cell phone number. They transfer your old number to a new phone on a new carrier and now have complete control of all the information tied to it, like your bank account. The scammer then calls your bank, says they've forgotten their password and get a pin number sent to their phone.

Wartman realized something was wrong when his phone stopped working.

"Three to four hours go by, we get home,  and I see my money was being transferred out of my account," he said. After talking to the bank, he called T-Mobile and they told him about the port scam. Wartman says the whole ordeal has put his life on hold.

"Just having twins a year ago, they're taking food from my kid's mouth. they're taking a lot of stuff, not from only me, but from my children."

There are ways to protect yourself. T-Mobile says to call your cell phone carrier and ask them to enable two-factor verification needed to make any changes to your account.

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