Forget Bitcoin. Nevermind Ethereum, Dogecoin, and NFTs. Social follows are nice a form of currency in the form of influence, but they can be fleeting. Even cold, hard cash — by the very nature of inflation — is constantly losing value. The real currency of the day might very well be your boring old name, address, and the rest of your personal information. In the wrong hands, all that cryptocurrency can be pushed around, social accounts forged, and lines of credit opened. Personal information is the conduit that facilitates it all. Catch a man a fish, he eats for a day; teach a man to catch a fish, he eats for a lifetime. Similarly, fraudsters steal your wallet, they benefit for a day or two; they scam you out of your personal information, they can wipe out all of your accounts. In other words, you better protect your personal information like Fort Knox protects all the gold (147.3 million ounces, to be exact).
In this article, we cover:
- The value of personal information.
- Ways your personal information is attacked.
- How a virtual phone number can help protect your personal information.
So how are attacks on your personal information mounted? You only need think about how you access your personal accounts. Think about those security questions every account has you set up for password recovery. If someone asks you for that kind of information, your Spidey senses should tingle. How sure are you that the person asking is who they say they are? Because they said so? Because your caller ID identified them as such?
Handing out your personally identifiable information (PII) should be the same as physically welcoming someone into your home. Just because your doorbell rings and the voice on the other side claims to be someone you trust doesn’t mean you should unlock your deadbolt and blindly let them in. That’s why the peephole has evolved into the doorbell camera — because without a thorough check, you’re leaving too much to chance.
We opt for meticulous security on our physical doors, the money in our banks, even the security on our vehicles — why wouldn’t we do the same in situations where we can’t physically see who we’re dealing with? The same person who puts three deadbolts, a chain, and a smart lock on his or her door could very well be the same person who uses 1-2-3-4-5 as the password on every one of his or her online accounts.
So how should we deal with those virtual interactions?
A great place to start is with a virtual phone number.
Virtual Phone Number to the Rescue
It can be hard to tell if a call from a new number is a trick or a treat. A virtual phone line proactively protects you and helps to quickly bucket calls into safe and unsafe. Pair it with your landline or cell number to more effectively manage your calls. If you set up your virtual phone number as your business line, you will know that if you receive a call on it in which the caller is angling for personal information, they’re probably trying to phish you.
You can also more effectively screen your incoming calls with a virtual phone number. Use it as your “burner” by giving it out more freely than your main cell number. For example, when negotiating with several buyers or sellers on a Craigslist post, you don’t know who you’re really dealing with. Better to give them your virtual phone number to call or text your negotiation, thereby protecting your primary number from falling into the wrong hands.
Virtual phone numbers are lines that aren’t tied to a physical location or SIM card. Voice over internet protocol (VOIP) is one such virtual phone number. You may have one at your job, where you have been de-tethered from your desk phone in favor of a virtual line that you can answer anytime, anywhere, usually using an app.
Virtual phone numbers are really quite brilliant because they’re always on you, they allow you to place and receive phone calls, and include voicemail and text messaging. There is also no requirement to hardwire a virtual phone number to a specific location. Virtual phone numbers can be accessed from most devices, regardless if the user is team Apple, team Android, team Mac, or team Windows. If you want a virtual line, all you need to do is set up a username and password. Done.
Virtual phone numbers are even more versatile than cell numbers in that they aren’t tethered to a SIM card.
YouMail offers virtual phone numbers with perks. All of our services include a powerful call blocker that specializes in squashing robocallers, caller ID that you can trust, ultra-customizable voicemail greetings, cloud-based visual voicemail, and more.
Virtual phone lines are available on all of our Professional plans. This spooky season, protect your personal information and optimize your communications setup with YouMail right away.