x
Breaking News
More () »

WPMT FOX43 | News in Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Lebanon News, Weather, Sports

VERIFY: No, scammers can't access your SIM card by dialing a few numbers

A Facebook post warns that dialing *#90 or #09* allows the person on the other side of the phone to access your SIM card. Experts say that's not true.

WASHINGTON — Most Americans are no stranger to the nuisance of robocalls and scam calls. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) monitors these to keep Americans safe from jeopardizing private information or money. 

Every now and then a social media post will pop up which claims to know about new ways bad actors can access your information. The Verify team works to make sure our viewers get the right information from the experts.

QUESTION:

A Facebook post claims that if you press *#90 or  #09* on your mobile phone while on with another caller, they can "access your SIM card, make calls at your expense and frame you as a criminal." Is this true?

ANSWER:

No. None of this is possible while using a mobile phone. If you are using an office landline, punching in those digits may allow the caller to transfer the call, but cannot access a SIM card.

SOURCES:

  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • Kayne McGladrey, a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

PROCESS:

McGladrey told us there is a grain of truth to the claim made in the Facebook post. He says on certain office landline phones, like corporate PBX systems, pressing a variation of those digits allows a call transfer to happen. But this does not affect cell phones or residential landlines.

McGladrey also says most companies have had policies and trainings in place since this started around 20 years ago.

The FCC has a webpage titled "Don't Fall for the 90# Telephone Scam." They describe this as a "legacy phone scam," which targets PBX and PABX phones found in office buildings. 

The webpage warns that you should not dial these numbers, and if you do, "you may be enabling the caller to place calls that are billed to your office telephone number." 

There is no evidence that this decades-old trick would allow a caller to access your SIM card or "frame you as a criminal," and it does not work on mobile phones.