Think Before You Provide Personal Information

Last Update: June 22, 2019

This post is just a warning to those of you who maybe just getting into using social media for your online businesses. This is also a reminder for those of you already involved with social media. Be careful what you post that you wouldn't want the whole world to know.

DO NOT BELIEVE THE HYPE

Have you ever logged into Facebook, Twitter or some other social media network and were hit with a popup asking you for your phone number to make your account more secure? Giving them your phone number is NOT going to make your account more secure.

Do not believe the hype. Do not be fooled into giving your phone number or even your home address to any social media network. Even though you will be able to block anyone from seeing this information or contacting you, you cannot block the networks from using it.

Facebook in particular have been pushing hard to get its members to provide their phone numbers for what they called Two Factor Authentication (2FA) security. But there were other reasons they wanted your phone number, that they didn't want you to know.

According to an article in Tech Times earlier this year, Facebook was/is using those saved phone numbers to send targeted ads to those members. Now that might not seem so bad, but what really can be done with those phone numbers is fairly unethical.

By associating a phone number with a Facebook account, the default setting for the 2FA allows everyone, EVEN THOSE WITHOUT A FACEBOOK ACCOUNT, to pull up a Facebook profile based off a phone number they submitted.

This new Facebook privacy data security scandal was started by an investigation by Twitter owner Jeremy Burge. Like many of the other scandals Facebook has had recently, they only admit their fault once they are exposed. So what does that tell you about privacy?

YOUR PRIVACY IS NOT GUARANTEED


Facebook and any other social media network can take your private information and use it in more ways that benefit them and others while making you more exposed. If they were not exposed, Facebook would have kept giving access to your personal information.

I find it ironic and a bit uneasy that not only was this latest Facebook scandal outed by Twitter owner Jeremy Burge, but now as seen in the above image, Twitter is asking its members for their phone numbers for better security.

How does anyone know that Twitter or any other social media network will be more trustworthy with your private information? Since you have no real guarantee of your personal information remaining private, your best course of action is to not provide any info more than your email.

Because once you associate your social media profile with your private phone number and or address, you will lose your claim to privacy. If you are like me and you haven't given your phone number, DO NOT DO IT! If you have already, you may want to delete it.

The best course of action is to NEVER give a social media platform your private phone number or address. They do not need it for security when they have access to you through your email address. What are your thoughts about this topic? Leave them below.

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NWTDennis Premium
I'm using Comcast for my personal email service. They used to have a double entry password scheme for security, but recently added a text message code that gets sent to my mobile phone.

Frankly this has made signing in to my Comcast email an easier daily task than it was. But I don't trust Xfinity any more than I do Facebook.
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boomergp08 Premium
I have Optimum which is part of the new Altice, USA. Like Comcast, they share a really good and secure login. You do realize that Comcast owns Xfinity?
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NWTDennis Premium
Actually I thought it was the other way around ... Xfinity owns Comcast. Just Googled it ... you are correct. Getting past the Xfinity home page on my way to my Comcast email (which is the only thing I'm interested in) is a pain in the neck.

The painful signin process is all Xfinity ... no thank you.
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PaulBoudreau Premium
Thanks again, Robert, for raising our level of awareness.

1984 is real and it is here!

There is NO SUCH THING AS PRIVACY anymore.

Those days are long gone, and will not be back anytime soon.

Nowadays, hackers are breaking into Equifax, government programs, and other "information data bases".

Imagine the data breach at Equifax or a moment.

Here is a company that COLLECTS all your PERSONAL and banking data without your say-so, and cannot keep it secure.

In the USA alone, over 145 million accounts were "compromised".

What can we do about it? ... very little!

If you ever get the opportunity to read 1984 by George Orwell, you will realize how aware he was as an author.

You advice is well taken.

Be very careful about the information you release to Big Brother.

He is watching!

Paul

p.s. great post, we need more of this
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boomergp08 Premium
Yes I agree about Orwell. I have seen much that he has written about come true. We most likely cannot stop all of the attack on our privacy, but we can make it harder for those who seek access from getting it.

This can be accomplished by using simple common sense, which I fear most people have lost the ability to do. One of the dumbest things I see people do is post vacation photos while still on vacation. Why is that a stupid thing to do?

You are advertising that you are not home and any crook can see this, find out where you live and come and rob your home. Just because your address is not posted does not mean hackers cannot find out where you live. People need to be smarter.
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PaulBoudreau Premium
Yes, Robert.
Common sense is not as common as it should be.
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fyre Premium
So true, for me at least. In a recent WAbinar of JaY's he suggested using 'sign-up with google or, FB' as an option to avoid more user names and passwords but, I used to be nervous about that too.

It's so hard to navigate what we are not always privy to about our own PII. (Personally Identifiable Information)

When I do software testing for a specific company and its product I
(9 times out of ten) will start seeing ads for that company & product everywhere on FB (Facebook.)

On Saturday, for example, I was doing a test for a huge car company where I had to access their app from my phone and, also be in a phone call with a representative.

An hour later I was sending some Summer Solstice love on FB and then, sure enough---I start seeing the car companies ads everywhere on Facebook.

While I'm not an 'over the top' paranoid person, I am powerfully diligent when it comes to protecting my assets. I understand the nature of tracking my activity but, it's a bit daunting when you get ads on Facebook for companies you've only accessed outside of Facebook.

I agree with Robert here--they are the biggest offenders of my privacy (& maybe now Twitter too!.) Before Saturday I thought that I had denied as much access as possible from FB but, after my latest experience and, after reading this article, I'll be double checking.

Thanks for having my 6 Robert!
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome and thanks for sharing your story.
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OSegun Premium
Very many thanks to you for this warning. I am relatively new to the world of social media and I am a compliance person.
I do not give my address though, but I gave my tel number to facebook. With your lecture (eye opener) I have deleted fast.
Grateful to people of knowledge like you. Segun
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Segun. Happy to help.
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webbsight Premium
Thanks for the heads up Rob. I haven't signed up with twitter or facebook as of yet. It's certainly a truism that facebook has been involved with some dubious behavior in regards to privacy and such. My question is, do the aforementioned social platforms require such data as address/phone number to sign up?

Blessings, Brad
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome and no, social media does not require a phone number or address to join, just your email address.
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PMindra Premium
Hi, Robert.

I've known this all along.

I wrote somewhere...

"...Yes, Internet Marketing is the process of promoting a business or brand and its products or services over the internet using tools that help drive traffic, leads, and sales. And yes, it does involve lead capture, building lists, landing pages and sales funnels."

I'll also include phone numbers now for 2FA.

"...But, the ultimate goal of ‘Internet Marketing’ or ‘Content Marketing’ is and should always be to deliver true value to the end user or buyer and also to not exploit (sell) that user or buyer’s valuable information to someone else for further exploitation...."

Unfortunately, the 'Buyers and sellers' of such information do not see the 'Value' proposition involved.

Good post, Robert. Thank you for taking the time.

Kindest regards from Southern Ontario.

Paul.
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Paul. Thanks for sharing your comment.
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alisterbrede Premium
I have a Facebook page for my business which naturally has my phone number otherwise how would clients contact me? My office is in my home so the address is the same. I have a business landline phone but it seldom rings. Everyone phones on my mobile which is also listed. Is this a problem?
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boomergp08 Premium
I hope it will not be. Personally I would never provide my home address unless it were a P.O. Box or a forwarding address location.
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jeffchong Premium
Thanks for sharing this to all WAiers! For some cases, we may have to fill in our phone num & address especially when we make purchases for membership or physical products online. But we just have to be extra cautious on the information that we need to provide and I agree that using 2FA is much better way. Thanks again.
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. 2FA works well if the original default design bugs have been addressed like the 2FA Google uses. But the 2FA Facebook uses has a flaw that can be exploited.
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ColleenLVSJC Premium
You're right, Rob! The less info they have, the better. I'm amazed at how much personal info people share on and with social media platforms.

For anyone concerned about using FB and sharing family photos of children, etc. The Band App is safer and offers families and groups a way to interact similar to FB. It's free and can be kept truly private for only those people that we invite to be involved. A team that I serve on at church has used it for over a year. It's been easy to use and a great communication tool with many options. It's worked really well for us.

Thanks Rob for always sharing great posts! :)
Colleen
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Colleen. Thank you very much for sharing that information. Sounds like a good alternative.
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ColleenLVSJC Premium
The Band app is useful for all kinds of groups including gaming clans and guilds. :)
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lakbar12 Premium
Before, I started searching for ways to make money online. I never joined social media, and the above information is one of the reason why.

I felt like too much is exposed online.

Plus, it seems to be a massive dating site in a lot of cases. But, I had to start a social media once I went through the training here at WA. So, I did!

This explains why Facebook has shut down several of my pages, and then when I went to go start a new page do you know they refused to let me join without giving them my phone number.

Go figure, now I know why they wanted. I just allowed them access to more information, for the exchange of a Facebook account.

My husband account was the same way. Now he gets calls all the time to join so many programs, it's getting crazy, and the man is retired and has been for years. I think it is because, of FB.

Anyhow, FB also has asked for my personal information such as a drivers license and again, my information is floating out there in no mans land.

Ever since then, I have no respect for the FB platform, and can't and will never trust them.

So, I don't mingle there unless, I am in a group trying to learn something. It's sad how they can take advantage of people like this and no one does anything about it.

Either way, thanks Robert for informing us all about the scandal.

I knew they couldn't be trusted. I will certainly do my best in deleting my information but, it's probably too late, I've sent in my DL upon FB request.

Now, I know why they requested it, so they could have my address, and who knows what else. They are a bunch of frauds.
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boomergp08 Premium
Wow Kisha. Your Drivers License? If they asked me that I would have said, bye bye Facebook. Why did they ask for your DL?
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lakbar12 Premium
You're right!

Because they asked for my DL I don't trust FB any longer.

Anyhow, they claimed that they needed my DL to indentify me. The problem is, I never heard a word back from them again.

So, now unless I am in a group trying to learn something I don't deal with FB.
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DonnaRayne Premium
Lots of good information. If you are not wanting to give out your personal phone number, get a Google Voice phone number. It will accept those calls and forward to your personal number. It will also transcribe voice mails left to that number and text it to your phone.

I've had my google voice phone number for about 5 years now.
Just an idea I thought I would pass along!

Take care,
DonnaRayne
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boomergp08 Premium
That is a very good idea DonnaRayne. Thank you for sharing that information.
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Selenityjade Premium
I respectfully disagree :) 2FA is proven to help keep your accounts safe. While I'm sure know companies have privacy issues and scandals occasionally, I'd much rather my accounts stay safe than a minor leak of my phone number. I can always change it or delete the number from my accounts, but trying to get back a stolen account? Not as easy.
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boomergp08 Premium
Yes 2FA has been proven to help add an extra layer of security but not all 2FA's are equal. The original default design of a 2FA has ways in which you can bypass it. Just doing a Password Reset bypasses 2FA because 2FA cannot run while the Reset Password Token is activated.

But this bypass can be rectified as Google has figured it out and has closed this flaw in their 2FA. As for Facebook the purpose of this post is to warn people that FB has been using member's phone numbers for unethical reasons beyond 2FA and has made it easier for anyone to access your profile.

Fortunately Facebook allows you to still use 2FA without giving them your phone number. They give you the option of using a security login app that doesn't require SMS to be used. This is the safer approach to using 2FA without giving up your personal information/phone number.
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bleumoon Premium
I have had problems with Twitter they locked me out when I was setting up my account with them and the only way they would unlock it was if I gave them my phone number and they wouldn't accept my home phone number it had to be a cell.

I am not going back and deleting my number. Just want people to beware that twitter is doing this.

Thanks for informing us about this.
Blessings,
Lynda
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome and thanks for your input. Just so you know, the Twitter 2FA is much better than Facebook's 2FA because Twitter is using some of Google's code base, seeing how they have partnered with Google a while back.
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wendyg53 Premium
I appreciate why you posted this, and in many instances you are correct, however 2FA is a very important roadblock to hackers. So I'm afraid I have to disagree with you.

I have 2FA (two factor authentication) set up on all of my Google accounts, Facebook, etc. It actually gives me some peace of mind, because trying to stay one step ahead of hackers who are out there 24/7 is getting very challenging.

There are times when I don't have wi-fi access and opening email is not a possibility. In fact it's a headache on my phone.
While getting a text is much easier. I'm a teacher I don't have wi-fi access all day. Anyone who works at a 9-5 job should not be logging on to their employer's wi-fi, bad idea.

We don't have any privacy if we are online, whether we give them our phone number or not. Even if a random person or company has my phone number, it is very easy to block unwelcome numbers. I rarely get unsolicited calls anymore as I block their number as they come in.

Maybe I'm on the fringe, but I do not understand the panic about phone numbers. The beauty of modern smartphones is the block button.

I think not having 2FA turned on is more dangerous than a company having my phone #. In order for all of my accounts and bills to remain secure - I need all the layers of security that are available. Being online these days without 2FA activated is like closing the front door to your home and leaving it unlocked.

If they have to have my phone #, then so be it.
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boomergp08 Premium
First off 2FA can be easily bypassed by anyone. The design of 2FA has a few flaws. A simple way to bypass is to initiate the Reset Your Password Token. 2FA cannot run while this token is activated, only once the password reset token is complete.

But I know from friends that work at Google that their 2FA is far superior to Facebook's. Even Twitter's is superior because they have partnered with Google and use some of their code. Not every 2FA is as secured as another.

But when it comes to Facebook 2FA a phone number is not necessary. Facebook gives you the option of using a security app that doesn't work using SMS. Seeing how the FB 2FA has flaws in regards to using a phone number, the app seems to be the better option.
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bazboy247 Premium
We live in the age where privacy, dignity and personal life have been thrown out of the window and then we wonder why problems occur
Also people asking on here about earnings, which other business have you ever heard of where you are expected to display your bank balance

I say to people who ask about earnings, next time you are in any business premises ask the CEO of the business if you could see their profit and loss statement and ask the CEO if you can see his earnings for the year and see what response you get

Far to much of out information is online, this is the digital wild west we trust to much and challenge not enough

Barry
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Sam-Oa Premium
Not to mention the way people flaunt raw cash on social media. I think its unethical. the practice is synonymous to money laundry in my opinion. However, it's great when you pull back the curtain sometimes. Showing facts and figures encourages people that success is achievable, instead of raw cash display.
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boomergp08 Premium
Well said Barry, well said.
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elhuntley Premium
Thanks for the info I'm going to check into mine. But what about Gmail? They have a auth. where you can open your email without having to put your password in through your phone.

And I notice that I have to put my password in my phone in order to get to the code so I can open up my email. I gather from what your saying Gmail has all my info.
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wendyg53 Premium
Don't tinker with Gmail. Yes they have your info, but they are also protecting you from hackers. Getting a gmail account hacked is a nightmare.

It is almost impossible to hack into an account with 2FA turned on - it is in your best interest to leave your settings alone, including your #
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. I wouldn't worry about Gmail. Yes they have all your info but Google has some of the best protection available.
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elhuntley Premium
Thanks Wendy.
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elhuntley Premium
Good to know thanks.
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Joes946 Premium
Great information. Personally, I don't trust any social media to give any information. They all use it! Don't ever doubt it.
Joe
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boomergp08 Premium
Thank you and I totally agree with you. This is why I have never and never will give out my phone number or personal info on social media.
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InnovaZach Premium
I have not been on Facebook for that reason. The wife is on it and I keep getting reminded everyday that I am so glad that I am not caught up in all the bs.

Thanks for the heads up for all the people that do not have a clue of how vulnerable they are!

Zach
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boomergp08 Premium
If it weren't for all of my family and friends being on FB I probably would have left a while ago. But it is a great way to get more traffic to my website by posting my links in targeted FB Groups. Avoiding the BS can be hard at times.
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rohitp123 Premium
Sir social media special concept thanks rohit
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome.
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DMahen1 Premium
Good advice. Use social media wisely!
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boomergp08 Premium
Exactly!
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SStubbins1 Premium
Thank you for this tried and true lesson regarding social media. I appreciate all of the tips and information that you gave. It will help me successfully surf the net much safer. Your article was well written and gave specific information as to why not to give personal information. Send some only on this for business purposes it's actually a very annoying place to be for me. Thank you for all of your help
Peace💗
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Sharon. Many people do not like using social media, but if you have an internet business, it is a necessary evil. :)
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MKearns Premium
A perfect way of making the shutters are secure Robert!
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boomergp08 Premium
Yep. Don't give info you do not want shared and your shutters will be secured.
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Dave07 Premium
Seems like good advice to me!
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boomergp08 Premium
Thanks!
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VioletLight Premium
Following you because I like your advice and your profile pic😉
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boomergp08 Premium
Thanks.
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VioletLight Premium
Thanks for reminding me to always keep my details safe, also this is helpful for people who don’t know that you don’t HAVE to give out this info to use social media👍🏾
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome and yes, you DO NOT have to give them your phone number or personal information for security reasons. It is all BS.
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jlclayton1 Premium
Thank you so much! Awhile back I had given Facebook my number for their 2 part authorization thinking I was making my account more secure.

But over the last couple months I have been getting all kinds of ads texted to me and a huge increase in the number of sales calls. The timing is too big of a coincidence not to assume that Facebook could be the culprit.

Appreciate the info, and I'm deleting my number from my account!

Janelle
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. If I didn't have all my friends and family on FB I would have left it a while ago. I do not trust them as much as I used to in the beginning.
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