A 2021 study conducted at Princeton University revealed that 66% of mobile numbers are still connected to accounts on popular sites, like PayPal. This means that more than half of the people turned in their previous number without doing the necessary safety precautions. Do note that failure to update your phone number may lead to theft, costing you thousands, if not millions.
To ensure your accounts are safe, make sure to follow these necessary steps.
Change Your Phone Number for Online Accounts
Start by logging into your online accounts as well as any cloud application you may be using. After signing in, make sure you update your mobile phone number. Doing so will ensure that any password reset messages will go to your new number.
Change The Number In Your Social Media Accounts
When changing the number for your online accounts, don’t forget to change your social media, too. This is especially true when you have a huge following on LinkedIn or Facebook. Once accessed, hackers will send social phishing messages to your connections, allowing them to gain entry to sensitive data, like credit card information, or message your friends and contacts to ask for money.
Change Your Number For Your Social Media Account Technically, a social media account is also an online account, but many people think of them as a separate entity. When a Facebook or LinkedIn account is compromised, the hacker often will send social phishing messages out to your friend connections to try to gain access to sensitive data or scam them out of money. Make sure to change the phone number listed in your social media accounts. If you are using WhatsApp, which is tied directly to your mobile number, make sure to follow their instructions on changing your number so your communications will remain secure.
Change Your Phone Number for Service Providers
After your online accounts, the next process involves updating your offline providers. Since text messages are more convenient than emails, the majority of people receive shipping updates, payment confirmations, appointments, and sales notices through text. If you haven’t updated service providers about your new number, then you’ll be susceptible to identity theft.
Thus, inform the following providers about your new number:
● Utility company
● Dentist and physician
● Plumbing company
● HVAC company
● Local retailer
Double Check MFA Prompts
MFA (Multi-factor Authentication) serves as an additional security measure to prevent account breaches. Even if a criminal has your username and password, they still can’t access your account if they know the MFA, which is usually sent via texts. However, if an unidentified person accesses your MFA codes using your old number, they’ll log in to your account and change your password, locking you out. To prevent this from happening, update your mobile number and double-check the MFA prompt –– make sure the prompt will be sent to your new number.
Review Your Inbox
It’s understandable to miss one or two online accounts or service providers. As a form of review, make sure to check your text message history, as most providers will text you regarding any updates.
Inform Friends and Family Members
Now that your online accounts and offline service providers are taken care of, make sure you inform friends and family members about your new number. Otherwise, they may still contact you via your old phone number, opening them to theft, too.
Phone numbers play an important role in security. If you’re planning to change it from time to time, which is also a necessary safety precaution to take, don’t forget to follow the steps mentioned in this article. If you’re still in doubt about whether your online and offline accounts are safe, make sure to request a mobile security check from us. Always be safe!