Before you hand over your number, ask yourself: Is it worth the risk?
This question is crucial now that our primary phone numbers have shifted from landlines to mobile devices, our most intimate tools, which often live with us around the clock. Our mobile phone numbers have become permanently attached to us because we rarely change them, porting them from job to job and place to place.
In fact, your phone number may have now become an even stronger identifier than your full name. I recently found this out firsthand when I asked Fyde, a mobile security firm in Palo Alto, California, to use my digits to demonstrate the potential risks of sharing a phone number.
He and I had never met or talked. He quickly plugged my cellphone number into a public records directory. Soon, he had a full dossier on me — including my name and birth date, my address, the property taxes I pay and the names of members of my family.