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Precautions to Take Before Recycling a Cell Phone Number

By October 21, 2022October 24th, 2022No Comments

It’s common for a mobile number to occasionally change. When you relocate, for instance, you might desire a local number for the area. Also, as employees come and go, businesses may end up giving the same mobile number to more than one person.

You run the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, credit card fraud, and other crimes if you don’t properly remove your mobile phone number from all the accounts it’s associated with.

A study found that 66% of mobile phones that major mobile service providers said were available were still linked to accounts on well-known websites like Amazon, PayPal, and others.

Therefore, once the previous owners have turned in the number, someone else may use it to sign up for mobile service. Additionally, the cloud accounts of the previous owner were still using that number, making it simple to hack into those accounts.

Because our mobile numbers are so closely tied to both our online and offline lives, it’s crucial to take specific precautions when recycling your phone number to make sure you don’t put yourself at risk. 

Change Your Phone Number for Online Accounts

Generally speaking, everyone of us has more online accounts than we can quickly recall. The majority of the 100 passwords the average individual must remember are for websites or cloud software services of some sort.

To update your cell phone number, you need to start by going to your online accounts and cloud-based software. In order to verify your identity if you’ve forgotten your password, several of these apps now send a text message to your phone number.

Make sure that any communications regarding password resets are sent to you and not someone who has specifically requested your old phone number in order to commit identity theft or compromise your accounts.

For social media accounts, change your number.

Although a social media account is an online account as well, many people use them separately. In order to try and acquire important information or defraud them of money, hackers frequently send social phishing messages to your friends’ connections after a Facebook or LinkedIn account is compromised.

Don’t forget to update the phone number on your social media profiles. If you use WhatsApp, which is directly connected to your cell phone, make sure to change your number as they suggest. This will keep your conversations safe.


Email is starting to be replaced by text messaging for many forms of communication. This covers items like delivery notifications, utility bill payment confirmations, appointment reminders, and sale notifications from merchants.

If you change your mobile number, you are more vulnerable since the SMS you receive from different service providers could be exploited to steal your identity.

Make sure to update your information with any services you use that contact you by calling or texting your cellphone number. 

These offline offerings might include:

HVAC or plumbing company.

Dental or medical office.


Local merchant

Utility provider


If you let a complete stranger get your SMS messages, they might figure out your multi-factor authentication (MFA) codes.

Even if the attacker has your username and password, MFA is intended to act as a precaution to help avoid an account breach. However, if the thief obtains the MFA codes at your old phone number, he or she may quickly enter, reset your password, and lock you out of your own account.

Double-check the MFA prompt if any of your online accounts use this type of authentication security while you go through the process of updating your mobile number. To send a message to your new number, you want to make sure it has been changed correctly.

Check your text message history to see if there is anything you missed.

There will inevitably be internet accounts or service providers you’ve overlooked. For instance, the store you never go to other than to order flowers for a loved one’s birthday every year

Look through your text message history to see if there are any other accounts that need updating.

Use the new number to text friends, family, and colleagues.

After you’ve taken care of your internet security, you want to prevent friends, relatives, and coworkers from unintentionally texting your old number. This can occur in both private and public SMS chats.

From your new number, send a text message requesting that they promptly update your contact information with that number once they receive it. As a follow-up action, ask them to remove your old phone number as the sender of any communications that contained it. By doing this, you can reduce the likelihood that they will mistakenly read that text instead of your new one when they text you in the future.

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