By Rafael Garrido, Chief Information Security Officer, Lifelines Neuro
We can all agree that a phone number is an easy “thing” for anyone to find, but did you know that it can be used to unlock data about you? In fact, it is incredibly easy and profitable, that’s why hackers and scammers do it. Let’s take a close look at some of the common ways your number might be used and what you could do to better protect yourself.
What can you do to better protect yourself?
- Try to limit giving your phone number to friends and family. For anything else, get a virtual number that can forward calls to your phone. This minimizes the chances that anyone will have your real number; which is linked to your personal information. How? You can set up a virtual number for free through Google Voice.
- Don’t click on links sent to you in text messages, even if they were sent from a trusted contact. If your bank, credit card company, doctor, or service you use contacts you through text, call them using a verified number from their website to confirm; avoiding malware or scams.
- Ask your mobile carrier to add an extra layer of security like a password or PIN number to your account.
These three simple steps will only go so far to help you safeguard your personal information. Our personal data is likely already in many people-search sites. While you can send these sites requests to remove your information, it’s a huge task. You may not be able to completely prevent someone from getting access to your phone number; but knowing what they could do with it can help you avoid scams and protect your information from being more widely spread.
This information was brought to you by Lifelines Neuro’s Chief Information Security Officer, Rafael Garrido.