You’ve Just Shared Your Phone Number, but Have You Thought About What Else You Have Shared? Why You Should Keep Your Phone Number Private

Your Phone Number Private

Phone Number Privacy

How many accounts do you think you’ve signed up for using your phone number over the years? Probably hundreds, right? And how many times have you mindlessly put your phone number on a form? 

Beyond the friends and loved ones you knowingly share your number with, the reality of it is too many strangers have your phone number. 

We all know the importance of protecting our social security number, but what if I told you that criminals can actually do more harm with your phone number than with your social security card? The more your number is floating around, the more exposed you are to criminals. But regardless of how long you’ve had your current phone number, or how many times you’ve handed it out, it’s never too late to learn how to be more discreet with it and think twice before sharing it with strangers. 

In today’s world, phone numbers act as identifiers, and our numbers enable us to connect through a range of social media and internet applications and services. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn are only a few examples of applications that ask you for your phone number in order to verify your identity. With the level of importance tied to phone numbers, it’s no secret that they should be handled with care. And giving out your phone number to a stranger could be all the difference between life as you know it and a privacy nightmare. 

Who Can Access My Personal Information With My Phone Number? 

Once your phone number has been released to the public eye, criminals can easily access your personal information. You’re probably wondering who these people are, and how can they access your personal information with just your phone number? Let’s take a look at who exactly seeks to access your information, and what they can do with it: 

  • Hackers. 

We’re all somewhat familiar with hackers. They are known for using their computer or networking skills to access personal and private information as well as gain unauthorized access to systems or networks in order to commit crimes – specifically fraudulent crimes. With your phone number, a hacker can easily access accounts affiliated with the phone number, and social media is one of the most common platforms to hack using a phone number. 

  • Scammers. 

A number of online communities, like dating sites, have noticed an increasing amount of scammers over time. With your phone number, online scammers can steal your identity by posing as you and take advantage of others by soliciting close friends and family members for favors, such as asking for money. Scammers who have no control over your phone number can still make it a target for phishing texts and spam calls to try and lure you into clicking a link or providing personal information. Typically, the scammer will send you an email from a reputable company asking you to confirm personal information or credentials, such as the last four digits of your credit card. That’s when the crime begins. 

What a Scammer Can Do With Your Phone Number 

Let’s be honest – you’ve probably shared your number more times than you should have. These days, it’s become nearly impossible to keep your phone number safe and private, but you rest assured. You can ensure the most safety possible by following a few simple steps and tips: 

  • Avoid sharing your phone number as much as possible. 

Seems obvious, right? But you’d be surprised by how many people jot down their phone number without any hesitation. Myself included, before I learned about the dangers of it of course. For most of our lives, we have been conditioned to share our phone numbers. We punch in our digits at grocery stores and pharmacies, and we use them to verify our identity for social media, online banking, and other common services. Now it’s time to ask yourself if it’s really worth the risk. 

Personal Information With My Phone Number

The Risk:

So let’s talk about the risk. What’s the worst that could happen, it’s just a phone number? That’s what I used to think. But the reality of it is a lot more disturbing than you may have thought. According to a report in the New York Times, it only took an hour for a person’s phone number to expose their entire life. With information as private as: 

  • Current home address, including square footage, cost of property, and taxes paid
  • Past addresses from the last decade
  • Full names of family members, such as mother, father, sister and aunt
  • Past phone numbers, including landline for parents’ home 
  • Information about previously owned property, including mortgage taken out on it

All of this private information was leaked when the person jotted down their number into a database. And to make the situation even worse, the hacker had the opportunity to: 

  • Reset the password for an online account by answering security questions like “what is your mother’s maiden name?” or “which of the previous addresses did you live at?” 
  • Use the personal information linked to the phone number to trick a customer service representative for the phone carrier into porting the number onto a new SIM card, resulting in a hijack practice known as SIM swapping. 
  • A hijacker with control of the phone number could break into the accounts and receive a security code in a text message when logging into an online account. 
  • Use the phone number to trick family members into sharing their passwords or sending money.
  • Target the phone number with phishing texts and scam calls, also known as robocalls. 

When It’s Wise to Share Your Phone Number & How To Protect Your Information 

After covering all the reasons why sharing your phone number can be dangerous, there are some situations when sharing your phone number can be reasonable. For example, when you enter your username and password to get into your online bank account, the bank may call or text you with a temporary code that enables you to log into your account. This is known as the two-factor verification process and is a security mechanism that helps you prove who you say you are. Many popular platforms offer this security system, such as Google, Facebook and Instagram. 

When it comes to protecting your private information, such as your phone number, risks always follow. But armed with knowledge about the dangers of providing your number to just anybody, and what you can do to keep your phone number safe, you’ll be a lot less vulnerable. 

found me tag Found me QR code

 

FOUND ME is a company that focuses on confidentiality. FOUND ME consists of tags, labels, stickers, bracelets and necklaces with QR codes on them. Instead of engraving your number and address down on your dog’s collar, or providing your personal information on your luggage tags, FOUND ME will help you secure that information while helping you reunite with what’s missing. Typically, we put our name, number and address on the things we fear to lose, such as dog tags, backpacks, and suitcases. With a FOUND ME tag, a finder, such as a good samaritan, will scan the QR code and automatically be connected to you without sharing your phone number or location. It’s completely up to you whether you would like to provide those details to the finder. 

I used to put my phone number and address on everything: keys, laptop, backpack, luggage, and of course, my pets. FOUND ME helps me keep that information private and confidential. 

FOUND ME offers a range of different ways to help you in different situations: 

  • Emergency – Bracelets and necklaces act as emergency tools by offering paramedics access to medical information such as blood type, allergies, height, weight, and other crucial medical information. It’s up to the owner of the bracelet or necklace to display personal/medical information. An emergency contact can give access to medical records and history when the QR code is scanned by a paramedic. Or, you can opt for the information to be provided as soon as QR code has been scanned. Once scanned, up to 5 emergency contacts will be informed about the emergency. 
  • Lost pets – Pet tags with QR codes on them can enable lost pets to reunite with their owners as quickly and as safely as possible. When scanned, the owner and up to 5 other emergency contacts will be notified via push notification, text message and or email, that their pet has been found without sharing any unnecessary personal information. 
  • Lost belongings – Labels and tags that can be put on any valuable belonging such as your laptop, luggage, backpack, prescription glasses, or wallet will also have a better chance at finding its way back to you. When scanned, you will be notified without providing details of your address or phone number. 
  • Lost children – Bracelets and necklaces can help a lost child reunite with their parents or family by asking another family for help and pointing to the QR code. It’s important to tell your children to look for other families with children and not just a random stranger. Families live with the fear of losing their children on a daily basis and are more inclined to help your child more than anybody else. 
  • People with Alzheimer’s – Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease tend to wander off and get lost. By wearing a bracelet or necklace, they can find help. When scanned, the caretaker will be notified and will be in contact through a secure and automated chat with the finder/scanner and can even start a video call. 

Everything that FOUND ME has to offer focuses on securing and protecting your personal and private information while helping you at the same time. Now that you’ve learned the importance of keeping your phone number private, you can take the additional steps to help give you an alternative to putting your phone number just anywhere. To learn more about FOUND ME and how you can protect the things, people and pets you love while keeping your personal information private, visit https://foundme.com

About us

We are all at risk of losing the people pets and valuables that mean the most to us. FOUND ME was created as a global solution to tamper this risk and provide peace of mind. We exist to protect everyone and everything important in our customer’s lives.

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