BY LILLY METCALFE
Please enter your phone number for security purposes. No thank you.
Websites such as Gmail and Facebook persistently ask for the phone numbers of their users. The purpose is to add security to a person’s account, so it will be harder to hack.
But as with most things, people need to be careful about what they put online. Phone numbers do not need to be added.
A person’s social security number is their identity. People unreservedly give that number up whenever it’s requested, which can lead to identity theft. By law you do not have to give the social security number to anyone, but to a government agency or when applying for a government program such as welfare or social security. Yet, people freely put it down on doctor office forms, work forms and credit card forms.
Phone numbers are not as dangerous to give away as social security numbers, but they are something that should not be given out freely. They can be used for spam or harassment phone calls.
Phone numbers can also be looked up to find out a person’s name and location. The famous MTV show “Catfish” with hosts Nev and Max do this in order to find out who the caller is behind a phone number, whether the person was using the same name and was in the location or they said they were are cat-fishing.
In August 2015, it was discovered that despite privacy settings, people who use a security loophole could see private information on other people’s Facebook accounts. The information that hackers find using the loophole could get sold on illegal websites and would make any targeted Facebook member upset.
Salisbury University psychology professor Rhyannon Bemis says there are three possibilities to why people would put their phone numbers online: authority, peer pressure and familiarity.
People perceive the websites as a sort of authority. They want to respond to it because it is simply asking.
Peer pressure is present because people feel safe with exposing this private information because others have also done it.
Familiarity becomes a problem because people are used to giving information so it feels normal. Luci Espitia, a SU freshman, put her phone number on Facebook when first creating her account.
“I was so young and naïve, I was just filling out everything that was asked for,” Espitia said.
Today’s world is a world where people generously disclose personal information. People are updated on what everyone is doing, where people are and personal events that are going on with their lives.
It makes sense to why people would want to add extra security to protect that information. It also makes sense to make a difficult password or not even upload that information to the internet in the first place.
The problem with our online controlled world is that nothing is ever actually deleted, and everyone’s information is never completely safe. No matter if you put your phone number up or not.
Facebook has had many issues regarding the constant harassment for people’s phone numbers and information. However, it is not a requirement, it is optional and people should not do it.