Happy New Year! Your account has been compromised, and your personal information, including your phone number, has been exploited; your data may be sold to the highest bidder for whatever purposes he or she desires.
Sounds like an awful way to start 2014, doesn’t it? For millions of Snapchat users, that may be a reality. According to news reports,
“Hackers appear to have posted account info for 4.6 million users of quickie social-sharing app Snapchat, making usernames and at least partial phone numbers available for download…Â In the statement, the hackers said they blurred the last two digits of the phone numbers they posted but were still considering whether to post more with the full number visible.”
The Snapchat hack highlights two things: the relative lack of security consumers accept when using apps and the need for consumers to take extra steps to protect themselves. In an interview, Identity Theft 911 co-founder Adam Levin had this to say about the exploit:
â€œThis is a big deal. Anytime you have a hack, it impacts what people do. It’s important to remember that any technology can be defeated, and you should always look at things skeptically…
Many people have the same username for multiple platforms, including email and banking accounts, Levin says. Once a hacker or fraudster gets a hold of your user name, you can be fished or spear fished by being targeted via email, or even text-fished, by phone.
â€œIf you click on a link or a text message that has malware, it can be passed onto your smart phone,â€ Levin says. â€œThese are like mini computers, data storage devices, meaning it opens people up to be exposed for identity theft. At first blush, this appears to not be as big a deal as it actually is.â€
As Levin said, once your information is hacked, you’re not only at risk via email, but by phone, too.
Can you imagine what might happen if your phone number were to get in to the wrong hands? Not only could your phone number be free game for annoying sales calls, but, more importantly, your personal information be exposed, putting you at risk for identity theft.
Knowing this, you’d definitely want to change it, and when was the last time you switched phone numbers? I bet it’s been years—maybe even decades. Imagine the inconvenience of Â trying to contact a decade’s worth of people—your friends, family, business contacts and acquaintances—just to say “here’s my new number!”
So what can you do to avoid compromising your legitimate phone number without having to sacrifice your real life? Get a throw away phone number!
Consider it the phone compliment to creating an email address specifically for the nonessential stuff. Instead of keeping your most important correspondence with your junk email, you probably send the junk to a different location. The idea behind a throw away phone number is the same—you can conduct your non-essential work (or play) on a number that isn’t connected to the important stuff.
Here are three benefits of having a throw-away phone number:
A throw away phone number doesn’t have the associations your primary number does. This number acts as a mask that protects your “real” information while still letting you make and receive the calls and texts you want to, keeping your information secure.
It’s easy to stay connected to friends and acquaintances with a throw away phone number. You don’t have to give up your social life, but you don’t have to put your privacy at risk either. You can use this number for blind dates; as a “club phone number,” for handing out to people you don’t know (and maybe don’t to!); for Craigslist buying and selling;Â and, yes, for social media apps like Snapchat!
Throw away phone numbers are cheap!Â You don’t have to worry about signing contracts or committing to your number for longer than you want. If your needs change, you can get rid of the number.
When it comes down to it, it just makes sense to have a throw away phone number for personal use. You canÂ contact usÂ to set up your number today!