The phone number has become your second ID. There aren’t many things you can sign up for without releasing your cellphone number. Many online forms some stores ask you to fill out have fields for phone number and address. In fact, some services won’t allow you to register unless you provide the information.
The appearance of interactive forms robbed people of an opportunity to “forget” to enter some of the contact information. Meanwhile, such programs as phone validators don’t allow you to make a mistake when entering the phone number. Address validators do the same for addresses.
When you share your contact information, you have to be ready to get phone calls. Telemarketers are waiting for a chance to grab the number and offer you some “very useful” stuff.
Mail marketers need your address to send you brochures. While entering phone numbers and addresses only has become a routine for many, not everyone understands the dangers of such careless contact detail sharing.
Annoying calls and mailing offers are far from being the most unpleasant thing you experience after you give out your contact information. By offering details to unsafe sources, you risk deploying criminal activities aimed at your life and money
One of the most unpleasant things that can happen to a person is identity theft. By getting a hold of your address and phone number, a criminal needs just a few other information pieces to get on the identity theft route. While these contact details are secondary tools for such a theft, getting them can make a culprit’s job much easier.
Many social media channels and email platforms require you to enter your phone number for security reasons. If someone gets a hold of the number and manages to use it to get a message, he can get access to your passwords. In order to secure your online accounts, make sure you have at least a two-step authentication.
Once your phone number is out in the open, you can become a victim of a texting spam attack. The marketers, who get your number, start sending you offers non-stop. Besides texting, they use other channels, such as WhatsApp and Viber. Blocking them on your own is not always possible. You may need to contact your provider to do it.
There is no reason to overlook this matter. When someone, who doesn’t like you for some reason (it can be as simple as a sharp comment on social media), gets a hold of your phone number, you may be in trouble. If a person has a chance to leave your phone number on virtually every website, you can imagine the messaging tornado that will follow.
Unfortunately, your address and phone number are probably online already. However, not everyone knows how to find them. In the USA, you can include your number into Do Not Call Registry to cut down the number of calls.
However, only personal numbers can be put on the list. Businesses don’t have such an option. This registry is not a guarantee you won’t get attacked by telemarketers. By law, they have 180 days after you do any business with them to call you, even if your number is in the registry.
So what can you do? You can’t avoid sharing your contact details completely but you can be smart about it.
- Carefully chose whom you share your phone number with. Try to avoid entering your contact details into forms whenever possible.
- Look at how legitimate the website you are giving your phone number is. The little lock at the beginning of the URL means you are in a safe zone. If there is no lock, think about the site’s credibility. Is it Etsy or some fan club?
- If someone requests your address and bank details, it’s a reason to become suspicious. Check everything carefully. If you don’t like something, leave.
- There are many online services out there and each one has an alternative. If one is being too curious about your details, go look for another one. You are bound to find it.