A FAMOUS cook from Southend has had thousands of pounds stolen from her bank account.

Jack Monroe, 31, took to Twitter to share the devastating news that her phone number, PayPal account and card details were lifted from online transactions and ported in by a new sim card.

The procedure is known as “Simjacking” or “Simswapping”.

It allowed the criminals to receive authentication messages and access her bank and payment accounts and withdraw the funds.

The chef, activist and former Echo reporter, is best known for her bestselling books on low budget cooking recipes and her work with anti-poverty campaigns, including Unite, The Trussell Trust, Child Poverty Action Group and Oxfam

On her social media page, Ms Monroe said she was “in a living nightmare” saying the funds had been withdrawn over the past six months.

She said on Friday: “The money stolen has run into thousands of pounds – I’m a self employed freelancer and I have to absolutely hustle for every single pound I earn.

“And someone has just HELPED THEMSELVES to around five thousand of them.

“I’m so white-hot angry.”

During the process of simjacking, the cyber criminals port a phone number over to a new Sim card by posing as a customer who wants to move to a different mobile provider but keep their existing phone number.

Mobile phone operators often request personal information to complete the request, such as a date of birth.

Ms Monroe’s date of birth is on Wikipedia, a fact of which she claims has helped the hackers take her funds.

She said the timing of the crime couldn’t be worse as she is approaching her latest book deadline.

She added: “I’ll get my phone number back in a week. The money will take longer to recover.

“My head is fried – the insecurity, violation, bouncing bills triggering bad things, but I have a book to finish, so I’m heading back to the kitchen.

“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.

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