…Should you be safeguarding your phone number? Can a bad guy use it to access your money? Absolutely, because you don’t know the extent of what the hacker already has so it’s extra-important to keep your phone number close to the chest.
This version of the original article by Julia Glum (money.com) has been edited [ ] and abridged (…) to provide you with a faster and easier read. Also note that this complete paragraph must be included in any re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.
…In fact, Paige Schaffer, the chief executive officer at identity protection firm Iris, says your phone number is probably already out there on the dark web. The true risk, she says, is when a bad guy can link your phone number to other parts of your identity – scammers can reverse-search and find your full name, home address, voter registration, gender, race and more…
If, a scammer, for example, has your name and cell number, they may be able to:
- fake your caller ID with one of those spoofing apps and, if they’re particularly clever, convince a customer service rep for your bank to reset your password, thereby gaining access to your account. (This is especially easy if the answers to your security questions can be found on social media.)
- use SIM swapping to take over your phone number, answer multi-factor authentication requests, and hack into other financial accounts. Last year, the FBI reportedly received more than 1,600 SIM-swap complaints from people who lost $68 million.
Scammers also like to send texts with links that purport to be businesses I use (or, in some cases, government agencies that you interact with) in order to lure you into divulging your personal information so you need to scrutinize anything that comes in to make sure it’s legit.[It is important to consider]…the value of sharing your cell number. If a 20% discount is going to create a significant savings for you, slightly elevating your risk is probably going to pay off but, if a random restaurant you never go to wants to text you your receipt, you should probably just request a paper copy. Ultimately, you need to decide if the benefits — whether it’s points, loyalty rewards, faster checkout or discounts — are worth it.
The Bottom Line
- …Be careful which vendor you give your phone number to, if any, and think about whether they’re trustworthy and whether the perks you’ll receive in return are truly worth the increased risk of identity theft.
- …Be extra careful about messages you receive.
- Manage your passwords.
- Sign up for multi-factor authentication, and freezing your credit can be beneficial, too.
Related Articles From the munKNEE Vault:
If you want to stay on top of scams, this article will do just that like no other you have ever read. It is full of information on how to avoid being caught up in 12 of the most prevalent deceptive marketing practices (scams), such as false or misleading advertising, Internet scams and deceptive telemarketing or contests.
Brazen schemes are pulled over people who don’t know how to protect their money so we’ve collected some basic tips on internet safety to help you out. By following these simple rules, you decrease the risks of your data or money…[being stolen] to absolutely zero. As they say, forewarned is forearmed.