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Put an Extra Passcode On Your Cellphone Account

Your cellphone number is the key to your entire online identity. Criminals are increasingly targeting people's phone numbers as a way to steal their identities and break into their most sensitive accounts.
Image: Jacqueline Lin/Motherboard

This post is part of a weeklong series to help our readers improve their digital security. Follow along here.

Day Six: Get a Phone Account Passcode

Call up your cell phone provider’s customer support line and ask them to set up a secondary passcode that you need to provide every time you call your carrier. This protects against criminals who can impersonate you and trick cellphone companies into giving them control of your telephone number. Once you have it set, add it to your password manager so you don’t forget it.

Why should I do this?

Our guide says: “SIM hijacking allows hackers to take over your cellphone number, and in turn anything that’s connected to it. A secondary passcode adds another layer of protection.”