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Your Cell Phone Number and Hackers

Your Cell Phone Number and Hackers - The Beacon


By: Amanda

Your Cell Phone Number and Hackers

On the heels of Wednesday’s announced data breach of social media platform Snapchat, your BBB would like to remind you to protect your cell phone number.

Wednesday, Snapchat became the first company to have its data breached in 2014 as over 4 million usernames and cell phone numbers were posted online.  According to a Wall Street Journal article, security experts say consumers should be wary of sharing their phone number with social media sites and other similar sites or apps.  Your cell phone number, most likely, changes less often than your home address so if your phone number is obtained by someone you don’t know through hacking, data breaches or other means, the hacker may only need to search your phone number through social media accounts to locate other information about you.  You also may be subject to “smishing” (spam received via text message) or your phone number may be “spoofed” by individuals looking to bypass caller-id protections.

While providing your cell phone number for an online account may help with security, you may wish to read the website’s policies and terms and conditions of use to see how the phone number you provide will be used and stored.  You may also wish to review your social media accounts to see what information you are exposing to the public so that in the event of a hack like the one above, only a small amount of information may be gleaned from your profiles.

For more information you can trust, visit

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Amanda is the Director of Bureau Affairs and is a regular contributor to the consumer education blog. She is one of our go-to colleagues for answering complex consumer inquires. Amanda also manages our charity reporting program.