Let’s get straight to the question at hand:
Can someone have the same phone number as you?
Although it is extremely unlikely that someone will have the same phone number as you, it is possible!
Of course, cell phone carriers do not activate the same number on two different phones for reasons of security and privacy.
However, glitches in their system can and do happen. In other, more nefarious situations, your phone number may have been ‘spoofed’ (copied and being used by scammers).
Here’s the deal as well: Phone numbers can be recycled and reallocated. So, it’s entirely possible to end up with a number that someone previously had.
In addition, one person can have up to 4 SIM cards with the same number. Certain mobile operators offer this MultiSIM service in countries such as Canada and the US.
Is It Possible For Someone Else To Have My Phone Number?
There have been occasional cases in which a person has reported that someone else has the same phone number as them.
This could either be the result of a glitch in your cell phone carrier’s system or an unfortunate case of someone else (read: a scammer) cloning your SIM.
Your phone number could also appear to be used by someone else through telephone spoofing– also known as caller ID spoofing or neighbor spoofing.
Spoofing is an act of making a phone call appear as if it is coming from a different number on a Caller ID display.
The reason why someone would want to do this can range from simple pranks to massive scams! Some unscrupulous telemarketing companies have even been known to use this technique.
There are several ways for someone to carry out telephone spoofing, including configuring a VoIP provider’s settings.
Easily acquirable technology is also available that allows your phone calls to appear as if they are coming from a different number.
Can A Cell Phone Number Be Used By Someone Else?
Yes, someone else can use the same cell phone number as you.
Using the same cell phone number is possible in a few ways, including telephone spoofing, phone cloning, and the Port Out Scam.
We’ve already discussed telephone spoofing, so now let’s take a look at Port Out Scams and phone cloning!
Port Out Scams
A Port Out scam involves a criminal pretending to be you and moving your current phone number to another cell phone carrier.
This involves the process of “porting”, which is usually legitimate and allows you to keep your phone number when you move to a new cell phone carrier.
However, this act is also known as SIM hijacking. The reason for this is because it moves your phone number from your current SIM to the criminal’s SIM card.
Criminals can use the same method to steal a phone number by impersonating the owner and then moving their phone number to another device.
They will then be able to receive security codes sent via SMS on their phone and gain access to personal details and secure services.
All messages and calls made to your phone number are then sent to their phone instead of yours, which can obviously be extremely damaging!
This process allows the criminal to bypass the SMS-based security messages created to protect users in this situation.
Port Out fraud is a huge problem for the cellular industry. Needless to say, you have to be extremely careful!
As you might’ve guessed, phone cloning is illegal.
It involves the process of copying a phone’s complete cellular identity and using it on another phone.
Criminals can clone a phone’s cellular identity by stealing its IMEI number from its SIM card or ESN/MEID serial number.
This allows them to subsequently program phones or SIM cards with the stolen phone number.
Generally, cloned phones are used to generate income. They are sold to people who are unaware that they have bought a fraudulent handset (such as off eBay) with stolen credentials.
How To Tell If Your Phone Number Is Being Used By Someone Else
There are a few obvious red flags that can indicate if someone is actively using your phone number.
The signs vary depending on whether someone has cloned your phone, or if they have spoofed your number.
We’ve shared warning signs from both scenarios below, so be sure to keep them in mind!
Signs That Your Phone Number Has Been Spoofed
If your phone number has been spoofed, you may suddenly receive random text messages and phone calls from unknown numbers asking you who you are and why you called.
These may be occasional at first, but they become more frequent and aggressive after some time.
If this persists, contact your phone operator immediately!
Signs That Your Phone Number Has Been Cloned
The first sign of a cloned phone number is receiving unexpected text messages to restart your phone.
As you reboot your phone, the criminal will then be afforded a window while your device is off where they can swipe your credentials and transfer it to their phone.
You may start noticing phone calls and text messages on your monthly bill that you don’t recall making.
This is because all of the outgoing calls and messages that the bad actor makes from your phone number will end up on the bill.
You may not have an itemized bill, but international calls may start appearing too (and we all know how expensive those can be!)
Always try to keep an eye on your monthly payments and pay extra attention when the bill is more than expected.
Another easy sign to look out for is when you stop receiving phone calls and messages altogether.
Alternatively, you may notice that your cellular connection has come to a complete halt.
When someone else controls your phone number, they may divert calls and messages to their device.
Thirdly, if you spot your device in a different location on ‘Find My Phone’, then the integrity of your SIM has been compromised.
When you log into Find My iPhone or Google’s Find My Device and see that your phone is on your desk but appears somewhere else, someone has most likely cloned your device!
Unfortunately, phone hackers are usually savvy enough to know to disable the location setting, so you may not know until it’s too late.
Another major red flag is when you receive a message from your cell phone carrier saying your SIM has been updated.
This will only ever happen if your credentials have been activated on a new phone! At this stage, you may also notice that you no longer receive cellular service.
Lastly, you may discover that you have been mysteriously locked out of all your accounts.
If you cannot access your email and social media accounts (such as Facebook Messenger), it is most likely that someone has taken over your phone.
It’s time now to fight back!
What To Do If Someone Else Has Your Phone Number
There are a few different things you can do if someone else has your phone number. We have covered some of these options below:
Contact Your Cell Phone Operator
The first thing you should do is to contact your cell phone operator!
Explain the situation you are in, and they will provide you with instructions to follow.
Change Your Number
Changing your number may sound like the most straightforward and logical option, but it can be challenging to let your number go.
This could be due to sentimental reasons as well as more practical ones.
(Along with this, is there anything more annoying than having to remember a new phone number?!)
Over the years, you may have accumulated contacts and made connections that you cannot afford to lose. You can always inform them of your new number, but this can be a real mission.
Make A New Voicemail Message
It may be a good idea to record a new voicemail to alert those with your number that your phone has been spoofed.
The more people block your number, the less likely phone spoofers will use it.
Report Them To The FCC
If someone is using your phone number, the best option would be to report it to the authorities. File a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Simply head over to their website and fill in the relevant information. Alternatively, contact the FCC hotline.
Can my phone number be hacked?
Phone hacking can happen on both Android devices and iPhones. Therefore, owners should learn how to identify a compromised device!
What kind of information can someone get from your phone number?
If your phone number has been cloned or spoofed, the criminal can access all your information including banking details and secure files.
They can steal your identity, and cryptocurrency, access private communications, and even delete the data stored on your phone!
Can someone hack my phone by texting me?
A hacker cannot hack your phone if you receive and simply open a text message.
However, if you follow the instructions in the message or click on any dodgy links, hacking your phone is possible.
So avoid, avoid, avoid!
Although two phones having the same number is highly unlikely, there have been situations in which people have experienced someone else having their phone number.
Criminals can steal your phone number through cloning, spoofing, and Port Out Scamming.
If you are unsure whether or not you are in one of these situations, pay attention to the red flags we discussed above.
However, try not to worry too much! While scary, there are ways to stop these cybercriminals and protect yourself and your phone number.
We hope that our information was helpful and has answered your questions!
Do you know how to stay safe on your smartphone? Keep yourself protected with our Comprehensive A-Z Of Smartphone Security right HERE!