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Phone cloning may appear to be very common, but it is actually not so easy to do in reality. However, since older phones are more prone to cloning than new ones, we can’t entirely rule out the possibility or even make it unlikely in specific circumstances.
In this guide, we’ll explain how cloning works and different ways to find out if your cell phone has been cloned. Pay attention to all the tips and instructions in this guide, you’ll surely find them helpful. What is it and how can you tell that your cell phone is cloned?
What is Cell Phone Cloning?
A cell phone’s identity can be copied onto another cell phone through a method known as phone cloning. In essence, a hacker steals the victim’s SIM card or phone’s MEID serial number, ESN, or IMEI. The network service providers employ these serial numbers as exclusive means of identifying and offering all cell phone services. They serve as unique identifiers for every cell phone.
Once the numbers have been taken, the hacker reprograms his SIM card or cell phone with the stolen data in order to trick the network service provider into thinking that his phone is the victim’s phone. By doing so, they are able to intercept messages, calls, and other services of this nature. Even though most countries make it illegal, phone cloning can still be a booming business.
However, few people are at risk of having their cell phones cloned. This is because of how complicated some detection techniques, such as radio fingerprinting, are. Direct hacking of most modern smartphones is more common than cloning.
How to Check If Your Cell Phone Is Cloned
Cloning isn’t exactly simple, but it also can’t go unnoticed. There are a few signs that will let you know whether your cellphone has been cloned. We’ll go over a few techniques to determine whether your phone has been copied in the sections that follow.
You should note that just because your phone is carrying out some of these actions doesn’t mean that it has been cloned.
Your Cell Phone Shows Two Locations At Once
Using cellphone locating applications like Find My iPhone for Apple and Android smartphones, you might be able to identify a replica if your phone has been cloned using a very basic IMEI cloning technique (Android).
Checking your location apps is one of the simplest ways to determine if your phone has been cloned. Any of these apps will typically display your device’s location. Your phone will indicate many locations if someone is cloning the IMEI or EID number.
To locate your cellphone, you’ll need to sign into your account and use the map marker. Then, you can zoom in and out with the +/- sign to see if any other device shows up on the map. When more than one device is pinging and you only have one smartphone, the additional device might be a duplicate of your phone.
Unexplained Charges on Your Bill
Your phone bill may show charges that you did not incur. These expenses are typically international roaming or dialing costs. But there may also be other costs, including subscription fees.
There’s a chance that someone has cloned your cell phone if your phone bill is greater than usual and you notice charges you didn’t make. You could ask for a draft bill from your carrier and begin confirming the costs if you get in touch with them.
Remember, though, that not all criminals clone phones in order to rack up charges. Some people wait for text messages containing sensitive information to be sent or received using cloned cell phones so they can profit financially.
Your Accounts Keep Getting Hacked
It’s a good idea to make sure that your cell phone hasn’t been cloned if you notice that your Gmail, bank account, or other accounts frequently get hacked. This is especially if the hacking happens repeatedly despite updating your passwords and turning on 2FA across all of your accounts. Since the hacker might have access to your security codes on a duplicated device, compromised accounts can be a sign of a cell phone that has been cloned.
You Receive Messages Indicating SIM Updates
You will notice a SIM Updated notification when your SIM is first activated. With some types of cloning, this is accurate. If you get this warning and haven’t recently changed anything on your phone or account, someone has probably cloned your phone.
You Stopped Getting Calls or Texts
Your communications are essentially hacked when someone copies your phone. This implies that you’ll receive fewer calls and SMS than usual. Calling your cellphone number from friends and family is an easy way to test this. Too many incoming texts and calls from unidentified senders are another sign. This could mean that you and someone else are using your phone and number at the same time.
How Can I Prevent My Cell Phone From Being Cloned?
By following the same cybersecurity procedures that make your online life secure, you may help safeguard your cellphone against this kind of cloning:
- Verify the validity of any carrier texts by checking if they appear in the same message thread as other carrier texts, for instance.
- Any message that asks you to take an action should be scrutinized carefully to see if it is phrased as you would anticipate.
- The IMEI, ESN, or MEID number for your phone should be treated like any other password and should never be sent to a third party or sent to an unreliable website.
In summary, cell phone cloning is not so common, but it’s also not impossible. If you suspect that someone has cloned your phone, you may be able to confirm with the tips we’ve provided in this guide. We’d also advise consulting an expert phone technician to provide more insight into what else could be wrong.