How to find out if your phone has been cloned

How to find out if your phone has been cloned

With our ever-increasing dependence on smartphones, a lot of personal and private information is stored on them. From photos and messages you don’t want others to see to important banking and other financial information, there’s not much we don’t store on our phones. Keeping our devices secure is important, and even though device manufacturers have made it more difficult for malicious actors, vulnerabilities pop up surprisingly often. How to see if your phone has been cloned.

Read more: How to stay safe online and reduce the risk of being hacked


There are a few signs to look for that will tell you if your phone has been cloned. A malware-infected phone will perform poorly, lose battery quickly, and become surprisingly hot even if you’re not doing any processor-intensive tasks. If you suspect SIM card cloning, watch out for unusual calls and charges on your phone bill, check if you can make or receive calls and texts, and be wary of suspicious messages asking you to restart your phone.


What is phone cloning

pixel 6 pro multiple sim support

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority


Phone cloning isn’t as easy as some spy movies might make it seem, but it’s a genuine concern for any smartphone user. There are two ways a malicious actor can clone your phone. The first is to copy your phone’s SIM card data and IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) information to duplicate your smartphone on another device. They can call and send messages for phishing scams, gain access to one-time passwords for banking and other accounts, or make expensive calls to premium numbers.

See also  The 12 biggest mistakes you can make with smart home devices

Another type of phone cloning is where someone can copy or access your phone’s data. A few legal spy apps are available for parents to monitor their child’s phone activity. But mostly, a hacker can install malicious apps on your phone through malware.

There’s a lot hackers can do after malware is installed on your phone. Keyloggers allow them to see everything you type on your phone, such as account login information. They can also access and leak private documents, photos and videos, try to trick friends, family and other contacts, or install ransomware on your devices.

How to find out if your phone has been cloned

Check your phone for malware

samsung galaxy s22 ultra theme apps

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

There are several ways you can find out if your phone has malware. The most obvious issue to watch out for is performance issues. Your phone may suddenly become slow or crash and freeze frequently. You may also notice issues with rapid battery drain and overheating. Of course, software bugs and other errors can cause these problems. You should check out our guides to speed up your smartphone and fix Android battery drain issues.

In the case of malware, look for behavior beyond what a software bug might cause. To the point where your phone is almost useless. A noticeable increase in pop-up ads, strange emails and odd text messages are also signs of a malware-ridden phone.

You can check your device for malware and go through your phone’s app list (go to Settings > Apps) and look for apps you don’t recognize. It’s also a good idea to install an anti-malware app to remove malware and protect yourself from future attacks. If nothing works, your only option may be to hard reset your phone.

See also  FBI warns of rise in costly tech support scams

Unusual calls on your phone bill means your phone has been cloned

If you have been a victim of SIM card cloning, look for unusual calls and charges on your phone bill. The hacker will use your phone to make expensive calls to international or high-cost numbers or incur high data charges if you do not have an unlimited data plan. Several malicious actors can use your phone number for criminal activities and lead to the authorities coming after you.

Your phone bill will have an itemized list of all the phone numbers you have called or received calls from. Make sure you check your account for unusual activity every month to avoid serious problems.

Gets messages to restart phone

google pixel 6a google messages

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Phone cloners may need a short period of time while the phone is off to set up their own duplicate devices. Be wary of sudden messages and emails asking you to turn off or restart your phone. Since restarting the phone is a common troubleshooting step, make sure you receive the request from an authorized service center. In extreme situations, you may need to terminate your account and get a new phone number.

Not receiving text messages or calls

Someone may have cloned your phone if you notice that you are not receiving text messages or phone calls. You’ll usually get a “No SIM card” error or mobile data not working issues if there’s a network problem or a problem with the SIM card or phone hardware. If you cannot fix the error, contact your service provider immediately. You will probably need a new SIM card, but phone cloning can also be an issue.

See also  Important technological developments in the microgame industry

Find My Phone shows an inaccurate location

how to find a lost phone find my device app google pixel 4 xl

If someone cloned your phone’s IMEI, you’ll see an error or different location using the Find My Device app. If you have an Android device linked to your Google Account, go to Find My Device and check its location. Apple, Samsung, and other OEMs have their own versions of phone finder apps, and there are some excellent third-party options as well. If you see a different location on these apps, someone has cloned your phone.

Read more: How to find out if your computer has been hacked

Common questions

If someone has cloned your phone, you need to contact your network provider to reset your services, get a new SIM card, or even get a new phone number. You should also report the problem to the authorities if you suspect that a hacker has used your number for criminal activity. In case of malware and spyware, it may be best to factory reset your device.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *