What Can Someone Do With Your Phone Number?

December 21, 2021

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Hundreds of people-search and data aggregate sites sell personal details like your mobile phone number every day.

And with your cell phone number easy to find in Google, any number of hackers, scammers and marketers can use that info to dig into your identity and leverage it against you, sometimes at a moment’s notice.

Can giving your phone number be dangerous?

Criminals are always looking for the opportunity, any opportunity, to steal your data. In that sense, your cell phone number activates something of a gateway to your personal info, providing just enough room for thieves and fraudsters to collect your details and create lasting problems for yourself, your friends and your family for years down the road.

That said, the biggest danger of giving out your mobile number is that it may one day end up in the hands of a criminal.

Because your number is available in so many public records – and tied to so many accounts, logins, and other crucial personal information online – you’re taking a big risk each day it’s left accessible online. 

Once it’s found and hackers gain control, it’s possible you’ll never get it back.

How do identity thieves get your cell phone number?

As stated earlier, there are many data collection sites out there marketing your name, mobile phone numbers and other personal data online. These sites crawl public records and social media companies across the web to collect information about you and sell it to searchers, usually for a small subscription fee.

Some of the more popular people-search sites selling your mobile phone data include:

  • Whitepages.com
  • InstantCheckmate.com
  • Intelius
  • Truthfinder
  • Spokeo
  • BeenVerified
  • Pipl
  • PeekYou

Scammers also find your phone number and personal info through the many data breaches that occur online each day. Once a breach happens, criminals generally access this raw personal data on the dark web and use it to hack your online accounts.

Would-be criminals can also find your phone info by combing through your garbage, pulling numbers from things like your phone bill and other discarded documents.

What details can an identity thief get from a mobile phone number?

Identity thieves and other online scammers can gain access to an amazing amount of personal information from your phone number. This extensive list of details goes way beyond just your name or the victim’s mobile phone provider, and may include your:

  • Current physical address
  • Previous addresses
  • Names of relatives, including your spouse and children
  • Court and criminal records
  • Mugshots and other embarrassing photos
  • Social media profiles
  • Email addresses
  • Important online accounts
  • Banking information
  • Account security questions
  • Other cell phone numbers
  • Car registration, VIN and driving license info
  • IP address
  • And more

Despite any security measures you might have in place, it often takes very little effort for scammers and criminals to find your phone number, collect your personal details and use what they got against you.

In some cases, hackers will even use this info to hack your social media accounts and begin posting offensive messages that put your reputation in a tight spot.

Can someone steal your identity with your phone number?

These days, your cell phone and cell number are undeniably linked to your identity. That means that anyone seeking your information usually just needs your phone number to steal your data and take over your identity. Sometimes, they can do this in a matter of hours or even minutes.

And once that happens, it can take months or even years (and lots of money) to undo the damage and restore things to normal.

What can fraudsters do with your phone number?

Unfortunately, fraudsters and scammers can do a lot just by accessing your mobile number. This puts anything from your social media presence to your bank accounts and identity at risk with each new day.

These include:

Stealing your identity and ruining your life

Armed with little else but your phone number, scammers can steal your identity and wreak havoc on your life. It can often take years and sometimes even thousands of dollars just to repair the damage.

Accessing your bank accounts and stealing your money

Cyber thieves often use phone numbers to locate your sensitive data and access your bank accounts, credit cards, pin codes and more. This can have devastating results for your finances and credit score well into the future.

Using your mobile number to make robocalls

Easy access to exposed phone numbers makes you an easy target for marketing and scammer robocalls.

Private communications hacking

Savvy surveillance hackers often use the victim’s phone number to access private communications, including your text messages, voicemails and more.

Text scams targeting your contacts

Your mobile number and contact list put your friends and family in the crosshairs of text scammers who target victims relentlessly and without mercy. 

Hacking your social media accounts

Often all it takes is your cell phone number to hack your social media profiles and access more personal details you don’t want exposed. It can also result in hackers posting offensive messages on your accounts, damaging your reputation in the process.

Spoofing your mobile number to scam your loved ones

A hijacked phone number makes it easy for criminals to scam your friends, neighbors, relatives and anyone else on your contacts list. 

Sending phishing messages to friends and relatives

You may not believe you have a high value mobile number, but hackers see something different. Your number provides a virtual goldmine they can use to send text phishing messages (also called “smishing”) to your friends, family, and contacts across the country.

Email phishing scams

Email phishing is common practice among scammers and identity thieves aiming to use your number against you. What’s worse, phishing scams are more sophisticated than ever, making it hard to know what’s real and what may be a trap.

Mobile phone SIM swap that gives hackers total control of your cell number

With your phone number in hand, hackers often use the SIM swapping technique to imprint that number on a blank SIM card. Then, they take control of that number for good.

To complete a mobile phone SIM swap, hackers use your number and personal info to take over your number. They convince phone company employees to bypass two factor authentication and transfer your number and service to a burner phone.

Once a blank SIM card swap is completed, most phone companies are powerless to reverse the impact and prevent physical access. An attacker’s SIM card swap can also be used to fool financial institutions that rely on your phone number to confirm your identity. This makes it much easier to access your accounts and steal your money.

Also known as scam porting, SIM card swapping is one such cyber-attack you’ll never want to be a fallen victim of.

What do you do if scammers are using your number?

When scammers start using someone’s phone number, the results can be devastating – not only for the phone owner, but for their family, friends and anyone who happens to be on their contact list.

Fortunately, if you find that hackers are using your cell phone number to commit fraud, there are several tight new security measures you can implement to limit the damage:

Report the abuse to your service provider

Once in contact, request a secondary password for your account to stop future takeover attempts. This can prevent hackers from obtaining the temporary login code so often used to assume control.

Notify your relatives and friends that your number has been hijacked and is being used to scam people

Warn loved ones to be wary of any unsolicited SMS messages or links sent their way.

Stop handing out your cell phone number 

This goes for online and in-person requests.

Use two factor authentication on all accounts

This provides an extra layer of protection against potential threats.

Avoid apps and sites that directly link to your device

Create stronger passwords, and never reuse a password for numerous accounts

It may seem obvious, but such an oversight can leave the door wide open for identity theft.

Update security questions regularly

Today’s cyberthieves utilize sophisticated social engineering techniques to learn these questions, making it essential to change your questions regularly.

Use third-party authentication, where available

Multiple websites now provide this option for beefing up account security. But even this measure can sometimes fall short in the face of a determined hacker or online criminal.

Remove your phone number from the web

Keeping your phone number safe means limiting access to it across the internet. A comprehensive personal info removal service is the only routine solution proven to reduce visibility and keep your info out of the wrong hands.

Is your phone number showing up online? Protect it today with Online Removal services

Our customized Online Removal solutions work fast to remove your cell phone number from Google search and alleviate your raised cybersecurity concerns for good!

With Online Removal, you can identify and remove exposed phone numbers and other personal info from more than 100 people-search sites on the web. This stops cyber thieves, scammers and trolls from accessing that info and using it against you. 

Our cutting-edge technology scours the internet for all mentions of your name, phone, address and more. We dig deep to locate any personal info that can do you harm.

Once located, we take steps to delete those phone listings from searches of your name and help you take control of your online privacy.

We also provide instant alerts the moment new listings pop up on the web. This ensures you have the intel needed to take action and remove phone numbers before they become a problem.

Want to remove your phone number from the web? Contact us today to get started.

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