In our hyper-connected world, it’s easier than ever to reach out and connect with others.
This connectivity is often seen as a boon, allowing us to stay in touch with friends and family, connect with potential employers, and even meet new people.
In pursuit of these goals, some individuals may consider displaying their mobile phone numbers in public spaces, be it on social media, public profiles, or even physical signage. The idea being to make themselves more accessible and approachable.
However, while the intention may be noble, the consequences can be quite the opposite.
In this article, we will explore why it is never a good idea to display your mobile phone number in public.
The desire to be accessible
Before delving into the pitfalls of displaying your mobile phone number in public, it’s important to empathise with the desire to be accessible.
In today’s fast-paced world, we often find ourselves juggling multiple responsibilities, from work-related matters to personal connections.
By offering our mobile phone numbers to the world, we hope to streamline communication, making it easier for people to reach us when they need to.
However, this good intention can have unintended consequences that far outweigh the benefits.
The risk of personal details being exposed
One of the primary reasons why you should avoid displaying your mobile phone number in public is the risk of personal details being exposed.
In an age where data breaches and privacy violations are increasingly common, sharing your phone number openly can lead to significant privacy concerns.
Imagine you’ve posted your mobile number on a social media platform, thinking it’s a convenient way for friends and acquaintances to reach you.
What you may not realize is that this information is accessible not only to your intended contacts but also to potential scammers, data harvesters, and cybercriminals. T
hey can use this information for various nefarious purposes, from identity theft to social engineering attacks.
In 2019, a massive data breach exposed the personal information of over 400 million Facebook users, including phone numbers. This data, which was initially collected for legitimate purposes, ended up on the dark web, where it was sold to malicious actors.
Receiving unwanted or unsolicited calls
Another compelling reason to keep your mobile phone number private is the risk of receiving unwanted or unsolicited calls.
By openly sharing your number, you open the floodgates to telemarketers, spam calls, and other nuisances that can disrupt your daily life.
These unwanted calls can be not only annoying but also potentially harmful.
Scammers often use unsolicited calls as a way to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as credit card details or personal identification numbers (PINs). They may pose as legitimate organisations or government agencies to gain your trust.
Example: Robocalls (automated callers), a prevalent form of unwanted calls, have surged in recent years. Many people receive automated messages claiming to be from government departments or other official entities, asking for personal information or payment.
Cyber attacks and impersonation
Publicly displaying your mobile phone number also exposes you to the risk of cyber attacks and impersonation. Cybercriminals can use your phone number to launch various forms of attacks, such as phishing, sim swapping, and account takeover.
Phishing attacks often involve sending deceptive messages or emails that appear to be from trusted sources, aiming to trick you into revealing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links.
Having your phone number out in the open can make it easier for attackers to craft convincing phishing attempts.
Sim swapping is another dangerous threat. Attackers can convince your mobile service provider to transfer your phone number to a new SIM card under their control.
Once they have control of your number, they can access your accounts, reset passwords, and potentially steal sensitive information.
In 2020, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Twitter account was hacked through a sim swapping attack. The attacker gained control of his phone number and used it to take over his Twitter account, posting offensive and misleading tweets.
Your details falling into the wrong hands
Lastly, displaying your mobile phone number in public can lead to your personal details falling into the wrong hands. This can have far-reaching consequences, affecting not only your online security but also your physical safety.
When your phone number is easily accessible, it becomes a piece of information that malicious actors can use to piece together a larger picture of your identity.
They can potentially link your number to your social media profiles, email addresses, and other online accounts, creating a more comprehensive profile of you.
This information can be exploited for various purposes, including stalking, doxxing (revealing private information about someone on the internet), or even physical harassment.
Protecting your privacy is therefore crucial for your personal safety in today’s digital age.
The benefits of using a private service provider
In conclusion, while the desire to be accessible to others is a noble one, openly displaying your mobile phone number in public can lead to severe consequences.
The risk of personal details being exposed, receiving unwanted or unsolicited calls, cyber attacks, and impersonation are all compelling reasons to keep your phone number private.
Instead of exposing your personal number, consider using private service providers to manage your communications.
These services offer you a buffer between your personal information and the outside world.
This approach allows you to enjoy the benefits of connectivity while safeguarding your privacy and security in an increasingly digital world.
Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your personal information and well-being.