Keep Private Information Private
Phone numbers, whether for personal or business use, are exclusive and private pieces of information.
In today’s world, phone numbers are identifiers. Cellular network operators are able to identify and monitor the activities of each individual subscriber based on their phone number.
Aside from that, these numbers connect users across a range of social media and internet capable applications and services. From Facebook to Twitter and LinkedIn, phone numbers are an integral part of the day to day activities of any individual. Subscription memberships, gift cards and numerous other services can be linked to a number.
With the level of importance attached to phone numbers, there’s no surprise that they must be handled with care. Giving your number to a stranger could be all the difference between life as you know it and a chaotic privacy nightmare.
Who can Access my Personal Information with my Number?
Once your phone number has been released to the public eye, there are many individuals, malicious and otherwise, who can easily access your personal information. Let’s take a look at who can access this information and what they can do with it;
- Hackers — As defined by Tech Target, a hacker is ‘an individual who uses computer, networking or other skills to overcome a technical problem. The term hacker may refer to anyone with technical skills, but it often refers to a person who uses his or her abilities to gain unauthorized access to systems or networks in order to commit crimes’. With your phone number, a hacker could easily access accounts affiliated with the phone number; particularly social media.
- Scammers — Numerous online communities — particularly dating sites — have witnessed a steady influx of scammers over the last years. With your phone number, online scammers can pose with your identity and use this opportunity to solicit close friends and family members for funds and other favours. Scammers who have no control of your phone number can still make it a target for robocalls and phishing texts. Phishing as defined by Tech Target is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in an email or other communication channels.
What if I’ve Shared My Number Already?
If you have shared your phone number and you’re beginning to experience unusual activity across your personal and professional platforms, it is necessary that you take the following steps in order to ensure that your privacy is not breached any further. Here are some of these steps;
- Reset all Passwords — Reset all passwords beginning with your email. Keep financial and critical accounts at the top of your priority list. If you have not been locked out of your social media accounts, follow through and reset all the passwords on each account.
- Contact Friends and Family — Contact close friends and family as soon as possible and informed them that your privacy has been breached. That way, any scammer or hacker posing as you can easily be exposed.
- File a Report — If a hacker has hijacked your identity, it is paramount that the case be reported to the nearest law enforcement agency as soon as possible. Request new debit and credit cards and continue to monitor your activity for any suspicious transactions.
Keeping Private Affairs Private
Phone numbers are private piece of information which create a large amount of vulnerability to the user if found in the wrong hands. Individuals are lured on a daily basis to giving out this information via grocery stores, spam websites and numerous platforms. Your phone number should be treated with the same priority and privacy as your financial credentials, Medicare number and other national identification numbers. There is so much that can be done with your phone number. Keep it safe!