Securing your identity – the case for changing your mobile number

In early 2022, the UK had 71.8 million mobile connections, surpassing the population by 4.2 million—an increase of 3.8% from 2021. By Jan 2023, the number of mobile connections had risen to 87.66 million, indicating a 21.8% increase.

Insights into mobile phone usage reveal that 38% of individuals upgrade their phones every 2 years, while 30.8% opt for a change every 3 years. This preference is influenced, in part, by contract lengths and phone life expectancy. Despite the frequency of handset changes, people are often reluctant to alter their mobile numbers, reflecting a prevalent tendency.

What many may not consider is that mobile numbers can be more vulnerable than we realise. Phone numbers, along with email addresses, dates of birth, financial details, etc., are considered premium data for hackers. This becomes especially relevant when you consider that your mobile number is usually tied to financial information, medical records, and business background, making it a central, common identifier for your entire life. This linkage poses a significant risk of identity theft, phone scams, or phishing.

At Valkyrie, clients routinely inquire about changing their mobile numbers due to security concerns.

Reasons to change your number:

  • Security concerns: Proactive measure to prevent further compromise
  • Identity theft: Safeguard against future threats
  • Harassment/Stalking: Protect privacy from unwanted calls or messages
  • Phishing/Smishing/Vishing attacks: Disrupt attackers’ efforts
  • Changing personal circumstances: Maintain privacy through a new number
  • Avoiding spam & marketing: Relief from overwhelming spam

When changing your number, consider these steps:

  • Update accounts: Ensure new number is updated with crucial accounts
  • Inform contacts: Notify friends, family, and colleagues to prevent communication disruptions
  • Verify security measures: Check and update account security settings
  • Backup Data: Back up important data before changing

While changing your mobile number might seem challenging, the benefits of improved security and privacy far outweigh potential concerns. Assess your situation, particularly in terms of recent security breaches or instances of harassment. If necessary, take proactive steps to change your number, promptly informing contacts and updating security measures. Safeguarding your mobile number is crucial for the overall protection of your personal and financial well-being, providing enhanced privacy and security.

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