Jack Monroe loses £5,000 after ‘phone number is hijacked’

Writer says she is ‘in a literal nightmare’ after loss of funds

Zamira Rahim
Tuesday 15 October 2019 01:23
Jack Monroe has said she lost thousands in the scam
Jack Monroe has said she lost thousands in the scam

Jack Monroe, the popular food writer and campaigner, has said fraudsters stole around £5,000 from her bank account after hijacking her phone number.

The person responsible transferred the writer’s phone number to a new SIM card after obtaining a porting authorisation code (PAC) from her phone provider.

They were then able to receive text messages which authorised transactions from Monroe’s bank account.

This process is known as “simjacking”.

People carrying out the scam pose as the target, request the number to be swapped to a new phone and then intercept messages sent through two-factor authentication systems.

“It seems my card details and PayPal info were lifted from an online transaction,” Ms Monroe wrote on Twitter. “Phone number was ported to a new SIM, meaning [criminals] access/bypass authentication and authorise payments.”

The writer and poverty campaigner said the last six months of her earnings had been cleared out and described the crisis as “living in a literal nightmare”.

Monroe said she had two step authentication on all her accounts and was “absolutely absurdly paranoid about security”.

She said she was unsure if she could recover her lost funds as the transactions were authenticated by text message.

“I’ve locked down and secured my PayPal account, shredded my bank cards and blocked the accounts, changed all my online banking details, all my security questions,” she said.

“But I have a lot of f****** questions for my bank and mobile provider about how someone can just, take everything.”

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The writer, who is from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, previously made headlines in 2017, after she won a libel case against Katie Hopkins, the far-right commentator.

Hopkins had falsely implied Monroe had defaced war memorials, which she later claimed was a case of mistaken identity.

The court assessed the damage to Monroe at £24,000 – £16,000 for the first tweet, and £8,000 for the second. She was also ordered to pay costs estimated at over £300,000.

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