Spam Protection 101: Don’t Use Your Personal Cell Number for Online SMS Verifications
Did you know that, according to a survey that Business Insider did in February 2021, 46% of Americans in the study reported that they had received spam phone calls every day on their cell phone? Another 24% received these calls multiple times a week.
Spam calls are a real problem. There are many annoyances and security issues you can encounter when you have a cell number, and receiving cell phone spam can be stressful.
Fortunately, when you use a number that isn’t your personal one for online SMS verification, you aren’t putting your own number out there in public anymore. This is a form of cell phone spam protection.
In this article, we’ll review what someone can do with your phone number and how you can do online SMS verification to keep your cell number safe.
Finally, you can get rid of phone spam and verify any account you need to when you receive an SMS online through a temporary phone number online.
You can even receive a Google SMS verification code online. Read on to learn more.
Why Not to Use Your Personal Cell Number for Online SMS Verification
There are several reasons you shouldn’t use your personal cell number for online SMS verification. These include SMS security issues, SIM swapping, phone number recycling, and doxxing. We’ll review each of these in detail now.
SMS Security Issues
When you provide your personal cell number to make an account or to set up a two-factor authentication process, you receive a text that has a verification code in it.
It’s likely you know the drill. You put in your cell number, wait just a few seconds, get the code, and then put it in where you need to.
However, did you know that the system used for delivering these codes is incredibly insecure?
SMS messages (which we sometimes refer to as text messages) are part of a telecommunications standard that’s nearly twenty years old. This is the GSM telecommunications standard, which has some security vulnerabilities that are quite serious.
This is because the encryption algorithms that are used in this telecommunications standard are out of date. Since they were developed, hackers have found ways to infiltrate these algorithms.
As a result, when you use your cell phone number for two-factor authentication that’s SMS-based, you’re putting your personal information at risk.
Another issue that can occur is SIM swapping. The malicious person will take a blank SIM card and put it into their burner phone. Then, they’ll call your cell phone service provider, pretending that they’re you.
By using the right manipulation tactics and lies, they’ll be able to convince the person at the mobile service provider company that they’re you.
Once this has happened, it’s easy for them to have the mobile service provider transfer your cell phone number to the blank SIM the attacker has.
Now, the attacker will be able to receive all your calls and texts. This includes two-factor authentication codes. They’ll instantly have access to your cloud data, bank accounts, emails, and even playlists.
Phone Number Recycling
Phone number recycling is something else that can occur. Even though it isn’t with malicious intent, this is something that phone providers do regularly. They terminate mobile phone numbers that are inactive, after which they can provide them to others.
Sometimes, the recycling deadline is short, even 90 days short. So if you aren’t active on your cell phone account or haven’t paid your bill, you could end up experiencing number recycling.
As you can imagine, you could end up in an awkward situation as a result of phone number recycling.
But if hackers attempt to create an account with a website or app you’ve linked your number to already, they could end up accessing your account that already exists.
You could end up having your private information compromised entirely by accident.
We’ve already made it clear that SMS is vulnerable, insecure, old, and even accidentally hackable. However, there’s an even bigger security issue. Phone numbers are often the link between your real-world identity and your online personas.
When you provide someone with your cell phone number, such as for SMS verification for a service, you’re giving your phone number away.
When you do this, specifically, for a service where you use your cell number for your login or username, people will be given access to your number so they can text and call you.
With access to this number, people can figure out your address and real name through doxxing, a type of Internet stalking.
What Is Doxxing?
Doxxing is an umbrella term that can mean many things, with different attack and approach types. However, they’re all similar in that the goal when someone uses doxxing is to discover real-life information regarding you.
Then, they’ll use it for nefarious purposes. For example, scamming, and sometimes real-life stalking.
It’s easy to do this. All the person has to do is use a service for reverse phone lookup or complete a Google search where they discover more about you.
Some other nefarious things they can do is set up fake accounts on social media platforms, pretending to be you and scamming your friends.
This is why it’s so dangerous to use your personal phone number as a way of identifying yourself online.
This is because the app, service, or account is now linked to your actual identity, inextricably. This can have serious online privacy implications.
The Solution: Online SMS Verification
Now that you’ve learned about why you shouldn’t use your personal cell number for online SMS verification, you might be wondering: “How can I get rid of phone spam and other issues while still being able to use SMS verification?”
Fortunately, with online SMS verification, you’ll have spam protection and other types of protection while still being able to get your verification code online.