Do you think your Social Security or bank account numbers are the most sensitive digits in your life? Well, think again.
When it comes to important numbers in our lives, we usually tend to forget about this one. Because, hey, it’s only a phone number, isn’t it? However, it’s more complicated than this.
Lately, our phone numbers have become unique identifiers of who we really are. We use it when signing up to sites and services, or when logging into an app or a game. Our phone number can also be used to reset our account if we happen to forget our password.
“We change our phone number much less often than your IP address and probably even our home address,” warn experts.
The result? There’s plenty of them, in fact. Let’s have a quick look on some of them.
1. Strangers can gather information about you
Here’s the fact: mobile phone numbers are often used as an identifier on social media sites or webpages, which means that typing your number into a search engine or website can reveal a lot of information about you.
2. It’s easier to scam you
Whenever you’re filling out a web form or downloading a new app, be careful. Because every information you’re giving away (including your phone number) can be used against you.
It’s because a lot of owners and runners of internet services, mobile apps or even internet adverts make a living of selling their client’s personal information to third parties: for example to banks or telemarketing companies.
3. Hackers can completely steal your identity
In fact, it’s disturbingly easy. Sometimes hackers find your cell phone number online, sometimes from a phone bill in the garbage. Then they call up their carrier and with a few simple questions answered, they ask the customer service representative to “port out” the phone number to a different carrier or a SIM card.
And that’s it. The phone number simply activates on an hacker’s SIM card and the hacker can send and receive messages and calls as if they were you. And there’s more to it. Thanks to your phone number, hackers can use your internet banking, delete all your data or steal your Instagram account.
Protect your phone number