Mobile phones have become built-in accessories necessary for our day-to-day lives. However, we may be giving away access to our personal information when we use our devices to perform tasks that make our lives easier or better. Whether applying for discounts at a coffee shop or signing up for a promotional sale at a favorite store, it is surprising what information is now up for grabs.
A recent article from The New York Times posits that our phone numbers not only connect to our apps and online presences but may have even become a “stronger identifier than your full name.” Research found that the simple task of plugging a phone number into White Pages Premium – an online database that provides access to public records – yielded everything from that person’s name and birthday to their address and even tax information. With that much information readily available, a hacker can easily steal an identity and use it in a seemingly infinite number of damaging ways.
When in doubt, don’t give it out. Avoid sharing your phone number with marketers, restaurants, and stores, among other commercial places whenever possible. There are apps that enable you to create a second phone number so those outside your inner circle can contact you.
Remove your personal information from data resellers. This is harder to do than you may think. Insite has perfected a service that reduces your digital footprint. We securely and continuously contact data brokers to request removal of personal identifiers and information so that it cannot be purchased.
To sign-up for a Personal Information Removal (PIR) program, click here.