A phone number is used to set up new accounts, two-factor verification, banking, investing, and web services like Google and Microsoft Office. It might be tempting to provide your personal phone number to clients and other business connections when beginning a new firm since it is handy. You already have one, it’s simple to remember, and there are no additional costs or setup requirements. However, there are an increasing number of hazards that come with using your personal phone number for business, and it’s critical to be aware of them.
Risks of Using Your Personal Number for Business
Brian X. Chen, a writer for the New York Times, shared an experience he once had working with a security analyst to see how his personal phone number could expose him to possible identity theft and other personal risks. His findings can help us to understand how our personal phone numbers can reveal sensitive personal information.
Chen gave the security analyst his personal mobile phone number. On White Pages Premium, the analyst conducted a basic online search of publicly available information. The analyst found a comprehensive dossier on her including birthday, name, street address, family names and even my property taxes.
Chen’s security firm had access to more advanced analytics tools that might gather information on his personal life from a number of sources, including consumer and government databases on the internet. In the hands of a professional identity thief, this knowledge might be used to guess passwords, steal his identity, and extort family members.
Experience is Horrific
One of our most trustworthy online and offline identities is our own phone numbers. That number is yours and yours alone. Our mobile phone service providers and other services with whom we interact frequently provide or sell our usage and browsing data to third parties. We can’t constantly work together without using a VPN to protect our data and use.
Tlholohelo Makatu, writes on Medium.com about horrific experiences that she had after giving out her personal phone number to business clients. Clients and suppliers would call or leave messages for her. She usually gets these when I’m on my way to work, which is usually before 8 a.m.
Things only got worse after that. She exposed her personal life to unwanted interactions outside of business hours when she gave her personal phone number to professional contacts. Customers and suppliers may and will take advantage of knowing they can contact you outside of work, according to her experience.
These accounts demonstrate the dangers that disclosing our personal information for corporate purposes might bring. While there are numerous dangers, the following are the ones that are the most dangerous to your identity and personal life.
Business Life and Personal Life Inextricably Merged
There is no way to distinguish professional conversations from personal encounters if you choose to post your personal phone number for your firm. Keeping track of the calls and texts from friends and relatives is difficult enough. When you add in customer contacts and service providers, you’ll find that you’re spending more time managing and arranging communications than you are expanding your firm.
It Becomes More Difficult to Change Your Phone Number
You may believe that updating your business phone number will be simple as your company expands. Consider your business cards, clients who are used to calling a specific number, marketing materials, business accounts, advertisements, website, social media accounts, suppliers, and other services you utilize to run your company. Unfortunately, changing your phone number in the middle of your business’s development will be a monumental task to complete properly.
Robocalls and Telemarketers
Managing unsolicited calls on your own line is difficult enough. Most robocallers bypass national Do Not Phone lists, despite the fact that it is unlawful to call someone who hasn’t given their authorization for marketing purposes. In our hyper-connected age, robocalls have become an increasingly serious and unpleasant nuisance. As our connectivity improves, call spammers and telemarketers will be able to instantly dial hundreds or thousands of numbers. According to the Federal Communications Commission, Americans received almost 4 billion robocalls per month in 2020, and chances are you’ve gotten more robocalls than ever in recent years. Your time will be wasted now that your personal phone number is exposed.
Giving your personal number to clients and suppliers, as Ms. Makatu discovered, exposes you to a slew of unsolicited contacts. Your personal life and privacy are extremely likely to be jeopardized, from business calls after hours to unwanted approaches from coworkers.
Vulnerable to Identity Theft
Your personal number is a main identifier for a lot of sensitive personal information, as Brian Chen pointed out in his NYT piece. Giving out one’s personal phone number to strangers, let alone having it available on public websites and other public spaces, is frowned upon these days. Your personal phone number is linked to your personal accounts, supplier databases, business licenses, tax records, and government agencies, in addition to business cards and materials. You’re increasing your risk of being targeted not just by bothersome telemarketers, but also by fraudsters and identity thieves, by placing your personal phone number on company documents.
What Options Do I Have to Get a Business Phone Number?
If you’re beginning a business, you have a variety of choices for obtaining a business phone number. You can get a second cell phone with a designated business phone number. Second, you may set up a standard business phone system through your phone carrier. Most company owners don’t want to deal with having two mobile phones or having to acquire new equipment and be trapped into long-term service contracts. That’s where our third alternative, downloading a smartphone app, comes in. Professional owners may now add a second phone number to their personal mobile phone for business purposes, thanks to modern technology.
Personal calls, text messages, and voicemail should not be mixed up with your business phone number. These smartphone applications allow you to communicate with clients and suppliers while maintaining your personal privacy by using your Business Caller ID. When weighing your alternatives, go with the one that gives you the security and convenience you need as you grow your company.