Phone numbers are an integral part of our lives. They provide a lot of conveniences, from being able to connect with your friends and family from anywhere in the world to using them as a form of payment if you’re looking to purchase something online.
But did you know that your phone number can also be used to find out a lot about you? In fact, there are several things that someone can do with your phone number that you might not even be aware of.
What Information Can Be Obtained with a Phone Number?
There are several types of information that someone can obtain with your phone number, including:
Your Full Name and Address
If a person has access to your phone number, they may be able to easily find out your name, address, and other contact details through publicly available databases or websites.
Public Records and Social Media
A quick search of your phone number may reveal a wealth of public records and social media profiles associated with it. This can include everything from your date of birth and marital status to your employment history and financial information.
Your phone’s location services feature can be used to track your whereabouts, even if you’re not explicitly sharing your location with anyone. All someone needs is your phone number, and they can see where you are at any given time.
Call Logs and Text Messages
If someone has access to your phone number, they may also be able to view your call logs and text messages. This can include everything from past conversations to any sensitive or personal information that you may have shared.
If you’ve ever listed your phone number online, it’s possible that someone could find out what kind of property you own. This information can include everything from the size and value of your home to details about any other assets or investments that you might have.
What Can Be Done With This Information?
Any time you give out your phone number to someone, there’s a chance that it could be used for nefarious purposes.
That’s why it’s important to be aware of the various ways that someone can misuse your phone number. Here are just a few examples:
1. Selling Your Number to Third-party Marketing Companies
There are companies out there whose business model revolves around buying and selling personal data, including phone numbers. If someone gets their hands on your number, they could sell it to one of these companies.
You’ll then start receiving a barrage of marketing calls and texts from them on a daily basis that you didn’t request. Not only is this a major invasion of your privacy, but it can also be an annoyance and waste your time.
2. Creating Fake Accounts in Your Name
Once someone has access to your phone number, they could use it to create various accounts on social media sites or other platforms. They might even set up a profile in your name and use it to send out fraudulent messages or scam other people.
This is one of the most dangerous things that a person can do with your phone number, so it’s essential to be vigilant when you share it with anyone.
3. Stealing Your Identity and Money
In some cases, someone could also use your phone number for more serious crimes like identity theft or fraud. They might use it to open new lines of credit in your name or make unauthorized charges on your existing accounts.
If you become a victim of identity theft, it can take years to recover and clear your name. In the meantime, you could suffer serious financial damage that could ruin your credit rating.
4. Spamming You With Unwanted Messages
Even if someone doesn’t do anything malicious with your number, they could still spam you with unwanted text or phone calls. This can be incredibly intrusive and annoying, and it can also waste your time if they’re sending you unsolicited sales pitches.
5. Using Your Number to Threaten or Harass You
Someone could use your phone number to scare you or intimidate you in some way. This is especially true if they know that you’re vulnerable or have some kind of personal information about you (e.g., past medical history).
6. Tracking Your Movements
One of the more insidious things that someone can do with your phone number is to use it to track your movements. If they have access to your call logs or location data, they could use it to see where you are and who you’re talking to.
This type of surveillance can be incredibly creepy and unsettling, and it’s something that you should be aware of if your number has ever been compromised in any way.
7. Using It to Hack Into Your Accounts
Finally, anyone with access to your phone number could use it to try and hack into various online accounts or services that you use. They might even try to get a hold of your social media passwords if they know that you frequently share personal details on those sites.
If you want to prevent your phone number from being misused in this way, it’s important to keep it as private as possible. Make sure that you only share it with people you trust, and always be on the lookout for any suspicious activity or messages.
As you can see, your phone number is far more valuable than most people realize. If someone has access to it – whether through a data breach or by simply finding it on an old invoice – they may be able to obtain a lot of sensitive information about you.
So if you want to protect yourself against this type of privacy invasion, make sure that you take steps to keep your phone number private whenever possible. You can do so by limiting who has access to it and opting out of public records databases whenever possible.
Overall, your phone number is a powerful tool that offers a lot of convenience and flexibility. But it’s also one of the easiest ways for someone to access your private information. By taking steps to keep your number secure, you can avoid the negative consequences that come with having it out in the open.