In today’s digital age, virtual phone numbers have gained immense popularity as they offer several advantages over traditional phone systems.
However, with its gaining popularity, scammers are always searching for new ways to steal virtual numbers and get access to personal information like financial details, personal information, social media accounts, etc., and use them to send scam text messages, phishing emails, or impersonate you.
Now you must be wondering, “How to safeguard virtual phone number from scams?” Worry not!
To help keep your phone number safe from scammers, we have compiled a list of essential security measures and smart practices in this blog.
But before that, let’s first talk about how scammers steal phone numbers.
How Do Scammers Steal Cell Phone Numbers?
Your cell phone number is a crucial piece of information for scammers through which they can hack your personal information, including your login credentials to social media accounts and banking details. But what’s more surprising is that hackers can easily steal your number; it’s their cup of tea.
Scammers steal phone numbers in a number of ways that you might not have thought of. Those ways are:
- Hackers steal cell phone numbers by swapping SIM cards. They do this by tricking your mobile carriers into transferring your number to the SIM cards that they control.
- Fraudsters easily steal mobile phone numbers by buying them on the Dark Web.
- Scammers can steal cell phone numbers from companies that store customer information through data breaches.
- They also employ web-scraping techniques to steal phone numbers from the web.
- Scammers obtain your real phone number if you have publicly posted your number on your social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc, and online trading forums.
- They steal your phone number by luring you to click on the random URLs or sending spam messages.
- They also get cell phone numbers from public records, such as voter registration rolls and telephone directories.
What Can Scammers Do With Your Phone Number?
If you think a phone number is only a communication tool, think again. Once scammers get your phone number through various means mentioned above, they can use it to conduct several fraudulent activities like impersonating others, stealing personal information, and accessing financial benefits. This is just the tip of the iceberg when the wrong person gets access to your phone number.
There are many other things a scammer can do after getting your phone number.
1. Phishing and Smishing Attacks
Phishers can use your phone number to send phishing texts to you and others, often containing malicious links, or to make a call impersonating someone from a legitimate entity, such as a bank, insurance company, or government agency.
Then, they trick you into disclosing sensitive information such as passwords, Social Security numbers, or financial information and downloading harmful applications and software.
2. Identity Theft
With just a phone number, scammers can access everything about you. They can use your phone number to reset your password and take over your online accounts. They can also call automated customer service systems to obtain your vital bank account and personal details.
Moreover, they also break into your work email and access other vital information. With the collected information, criminals can pretend to be you, leading to identity theft.
3. Take Over your Phone with SIM Swapping
After getting access to your number, scammers can call your mobile carrier pretending to be you and claim to have lost an old SIM card and need a new one. Once a customer service representative activates a new SIM card, your phone number will be switched to the hacker’s SIM card.
After that, all your calls and texts will go to that phone instead of yours. They now have full control over your calls and text messages without having your actual device.
Scammers also steal someone’s phone number to get their revenge. Once scammers find any information about someone through their number, be it their real full name, address, workplace, or financial details, they will release it to the public without the victim’s consent.
5. Blackmail You
Fraudsters can use your phone number to blackmail you. If a scammer finds any sensitive information, such as your private photos and videos which you don’t want others to see, they can threaten you to release them to the public. They might also ask for a huge sum of money in return.
6. Hack Social Media Accounts
Every online platform, including social media platforms, nowadays requires a legitimate phone number to sign up for two-factor authentication (2FA). When a scammer gets your private number, he/she can use it to log in to your online platforms by intercepting 2FA codes sent via SMS.
7. Target your Friends and Family
Hackers not only dig problems for you but also scam your close friends and family members. They can use your mobile numbers to trick friends and family members into sharing their personal information. Also, they can message people on your contact list and ask them to send money. In this case, your closed one may unknowingly wire money to the scammer without realizing the trick.
How to Safeguard Virtual Phone Number from Scams?
You have already known what scammers can do after getting your phone number. Hence, you should take proper precautions to safeguard your virtual phone number from scams. Some precautions measures you can consider are as follows:
1. Buy Virtual Numbers from Reputable Service Providers
It is essential to get cloud-based virtual phone numbers from trustworthy and reliable voip service provider that prioritize security and privacy. To select a reliable provider, you can conduct thorough research and read reviews regarding their track record and customer service.
2. Frequently Update Passwords
Another step you can take to safeguard virtual phone number from scams is to update your virtual phone number password frequently. Additionally, you should use strong and unique passwords for your virtual phone number account, avoiding easily guessable options.
3. Monitor Account Activity
Monitoring Account Activity is essential. Make it a habit to check the activity on your virtual phone number account regularly. If you happen to come across any suspicious or unauthorized activity, you must take immediate action. Consider changing your password and reaching out to customer support for assistance.
4. Don’t Overshare your Virtual Number
When it comes to virtual phone numbers, exercising caution is crucial. Hence, you should refrain from sharing your virtual phone number on public forums, social media platforms, or any other easily accessible platform that scammers can exploit. Ensure you only provide your phone number to trusted individuals and limit its exposure online.
5. Avoid Clicking Links from Unknown Senders
When you receive text messages with links from unknown senders, you should never click on them. Those links can direct you to download malware software and apps harmful to your phone, computer, network, or server.
6. Use safe Wi-Fi Networks
You should always use secure Wi-Fi networks when accessing your virtual phone number account or any associated services. Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks that have lower security levels and one that scammers can easily decode.
7. Secure Your Email Account
Virtual phone numbers are often associated with email accounts. Hence, it is crucial to safeguard your email account to protect your virtual phone number from scams. To achieve this, you must use a strong password along with two-factor authentication (2FA) on your email account. In addition, don’t click suspicious links sent to your email that can compromise your email login information.
8. Regularly Update Apps and Devices
You should keep the apps and devices you use to access your virtual phone number up-to-date with the latest security patches. These updates often include fixes for vulnerabilities that scammers could exploit.
9. Report Suspicious Activity
If any suspicious activity catches your attention or if you suspect that your virtual phone number might have been compromised, it is important to promptly report it to your service provider. As a result, your service provider can take immediate action to secure your account effectively.
10. Install Antivirus Software
You can install antivirus programs on your devices. The software blocks malicious code or malware, so hackers can’t access your data or steal your phone number.
In summary, when a scammer gains access to your cell phone number, it brings you lots of problems. A scam can risk your finances and reputation. It also hijacks your social media account and takes over your phone to trick your friends and family.
Hence, you should take precautions to safeguard your personal or business phone number from scams. Those precautions include not sharing your phone number over texts, not clicking on any links you are unsure about, frequently updating passwords, using safe Wi-Fi networks, installing antivirus software, etc.
And if you follow these precautions, you can protect yourself from getting scammed by scammers.
What can a scammer do with your phone number?
A scammer can conduct various criminal and fraudulent activities with your phone number. These include sending phishing emails, online harassment, blackmailing, Doxxing, scamming friends and family members, etc.
Can a scammer hack my phone number?
Yes, a scammer can hack anyone’s phone number. No matter whether you are a student, businessman, doctor, or engineer.
Where can I buy a virtual number?
You can buy a virtual number from a reputable and reliable virtual number provider like Dialaxy.
Can I use a virtual number to register on an online platform?
Absolutely. Virtual numbers can be used to register on any online platform, whether social media or online shopping sites. However, you should not share your virtual phone numbers on malicious websites.