If you're often inundated with robocalls and calls from telemarketers, there's probably a direct correlation to how long you've had your current mobile number. If it's been a considerable amount of time, chances are some of your personal information is readily available on public databases. Not all your information, mind you, but details important to marketers such as your name, address, age and gender.
And it probably wasn't too difficult for this information to become available. Think about it - have you ever wondered what happens when you enter your mobile number into an online form for a retailer or other business? That's just one of many ways your number and accompanying details make their way into the open.
With that in mind, one company is offering a new service so you can see which of your personal details are available for anyone to see. The best part? It's free and all it takes is one text message.
Private info tied to your phone number
Your mobile carrier, contests and accepting terms of service. Those are few ways your personal details get added to lists according to Keepsafe, a company that focuses on privacy and security. Now Keepsafe wants you know just how much information is out there, and it's launched a new service to help.
It's called My Number Lookup and was designed to see exactly what data is tied to your mobile number. All you have to do is send a one-word text message to a number the company set up and follow the prompts from there to get your specific report.
The report then pulls public information from data aggregation platform APIs, which power services such as Caller ID. It seeks out any details like your name, current and previous addresses, gender, mobile carrier and associated people.
What you might find
When Kim found out about My Number Lookup, she decided to give it a try. The only public information the report retrieved was a ZIP code and mobile carrier. Other details just weren't available, as you can see from the screenshot below. And that's good news.
So I decided to try it out myself. Within about a minute of sending the text, it retrieved A LOT of information. Take a look below:
That's a lot of information. But the problem with my report is the details are either incorrect or at the very least, extremely outdated. First of all, my name is not Larry and my last name is not the one generated by the report. I'm still quite a ways from being in my 60s and I've never lived in rural eastern Kansas - although I do have a Kansas area code because I lived in a different part of that state for a number of years. It did get my gender and service provider correct, though.
The report also listed eight associated people. I recognized only one name on the list: my own.
I'm scratching my head as to why that's the public information tied to a phone number I've had for 15 years. Maybe it's an anomaly.
I also asked other colleagues to check their own phone numbers. Some information was unavailable, which is a good thing. It would get the names right, but there were a few areas of inaccuracies involving addresses or associates.
How the report can work for you
My Number Lookup can be a very useful tool to discover what personal information of yours is public. To see what's out there, just send a text that says "Hello" to (855) 228-4539. Then answer "Yes" to the questions it asks. Once you have your report, you can respond with "Stop" if you no longer wish to receive follow-up texts from Keepsafe.
Keepsafe also offers tips on removing your information from data brokers. Check out some of those services through Keepsafe by clicking or tapping here.
ONE THING YOU NEED TO DO NOW TO PROTECT YOUR ONLINE ACCOUNTS AND CELLPHONE NUMBER
With increasing cases of hacking, scamming and online fraud, it can be difficult to know exactly how to protect your online accounts - or preventing your phone from receiving robocalls.