November 15, 2019

What Can Someone Learn from Your Phone Number?

“For most of our lives, we have been conditioned to share a piece of personal information without a moment’s hesitation: our phone number.

We punch in our digits at the grocery store to get a member discount or at the pharmacy to pick up medication. When we sign up to use apps and websites, they often ask for our phone number to verify our identity.

This column will encourage a new exercise. Before you hand over your number, ask yourself: Is it worth the risk?

This question is crucial now that our primary phone numbers have shifted from landlines to mobile devices, our most intimate tools, which often live with us around the clock. Our mobile phone numbers have become permanently attached to us because we rarely change them, porting them from job to job and place to place.

At the same time, the string of digits has increasingly become connected to apps and online services that are hooked into our personal lives. And it can lead to information from our offline worlds, including where we live and more.”

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