KITCHENER -- A Kitchener man is warning others after he says his phone number was stolen, leading him to be scammed out of nearly $3,000.

Ethyan Hillgartner says he got a text message telling him his number was being switched to a different service provider, but ignored the message assuming it was spam.

"But then about 30 minutes later, I had no service on my cell phone," Hillgartner explains.

Eventually he contacted a Rogers employee.

"They said that sometimes this happens: somebody steals a number or the number is released without too much information," Hillgartner says.

Once he was able to get internet back to his phone, Hillgartner realized he was a victim of fraud.

"I noticed that one [email] came in from PayPal and it said ‘your email has been changed,’" he says.

There was another message showing a charge on his account for $2,741.91 taken from his Visa.

PayPal issued a refund after Hillgartner explained what happened.

The company says they use a number of ways to confirm a user’s identity, one of those being an automated phone call or text message.

"We proactively work with law enforcement agencies, industry partners and use our own systems to detect fraud," PayPal told CTV News in a statement.

Hillgartner says he was able to get his money back but is warning others to be vigilant when it comes to their personal information.

"They took my money against my will for something they wanted," he says.

The victim of fraud has since removed his phone number and credit card information from his online accounts, now vowing only to add that data temporarily when making a purchase.

How customers can protect themselves

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association says that consumers should keep their personal info personal.

The association says that you should keep your birth date off of social media, and that your security verification questions should be difficult to guess.

PayPal recommends that you regularly log in to your account and review your account statement.

They also recommend:

  • Using a password or PIN on all of your devices
  • Using only trusted online payment systems
  • Keeping software up to date
  • Using anti-virus software