Identity theft warning: Be careful who you give your cell number to

Cell phone numbers should be protected the same as Social Security numbers.

Do you think twice about giving out your phone number? You should. Thieves can swipe your identity through your digits.

10News asked on social media: how many of you still have a home phone?

Nearly half of American households don't have a landline, but you might want to think about having a second phone number.

We all know to protect our social security number, but think about everyone who asks for your cell phone number: from banks, to online shopping, and social media accounts. We give out those ten digits really to strangers. Experts say that increases your risk for identity theft. Crooks can dial into all kinds of information about you by having your name and number.

To protect yourself:

  • Just say no: don't give out your number unless it's absolutely necessary.
  • To block your number: you can hit *67 before making a call.
  • Use a disposable phone.
  • Google Voice can give you a temporary disposable number.
  • Other apps let you keep your personal number private by adding a second number to your smartphone for free or a small fee.

The Better Business Bureau of West Florida warns to watch out for people calling you requesting your information. They could be digging for the pieces they need to steal your identity.

Bryan Oglesby from the BBB says:

  • Consumers should never send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request – whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
  • Don’t believe your Caller ID – Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.

If you've had your identity stolen, the Federal Trade Commission has some steps that you should take, click HERE.

You can report a scam to the BBB Scam Tracker and see other consumers’ warnings by CLICKING HERE.


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