Working in the world of scams, identity theft and cybersecurity, I have become a bit paranoid, but we all should remember that even paranoids have enemies. As cellphones have become pretty much universal, they have moved into the realm of being used as an identifier of us which is asked for by numerous entities with which you may do business and while this may seem innocuous, it most certainly is not.
There are numerous legal public records directories, such as White Pages Premium that assemble records about you from a wide variety of online sources and provide this information to anyone who uses their services. Merely having your cellphone number can allow someone to use these services to obtain your name, birth date, address, past addresses, names of your family members, past phone numbers and much more. This information can be leveraged by an identity thief or scammer to answer security questions at your online accounts and change your passwords or even to answer questions from your mobile service provider to allow the identity thief to perform a SIM swap, take over your phone and allow the identity thief to thwart dual factor authentication. For more information about SIM swapping check out this Scam of the day from February 10, 2021 https://scamicide.com/2021/02/09/scam-of-the-day-february-10-2021-16-year-old-charged-wtih-sim-swapping/
So what can you do to protect yourself?
Limit the places that you provide your cellphone number to as much as possible. Also, to avoid becoming a victim of SIM card swapping and strengthen your dual factor authentication, you should establish a PIN to use with your mobile service provider. For more details as to how to do this with your specific provider, check out the Scam of the day from February 10, 2021 https://scamicide.com/2021/02/09/scam-of-the-day-february-10-2021-16-year-old-charged-wtih-sim-swapping/
Another easy solution is to get a second phone number that will serve to hide your primary number and its connections to you. Some apps to help you with this include Google Voice https://voice.google.com/about and Burner https://www.burnerapp.com/
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and type in your email address where it states “Sign up for this blog.”