Smartphones and electronic devices with similar capabilities are integral parts of many communications systems in homes and business places. These devices are packed with special features and many of these make life more convenient and more interesting in a wide variety of ways. However, this convenience often comes with unseen consequences. If you own a smart communications device, you may be unintentionally sharing a lot of personal information. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to restrict that info.
You Don’t Need To Share Your Phone Number
Just because you’re calling a business or individual, you don’t necessarily want them to have access to your phone number. Many businesses track and save phone numbers to make sales calls or to access information about you based on your location. Truthfully, there are probably some individuals in everyone’s lives who shouldn’t have their phone numbers. It’s actually really easy to protect your privacy and disable the caller ID feature, so the people you call won’t see your phone number. Instead, their display will show “anonymous,” “private,” or a similar term.
Use a Code or False Number
There are a few ways to prevent the people you’re calling from access to your name and phone number. Some phone services and manufacturers provide blocking codes that you add to the rest of the phone number. Many countries also have codes that can be used to block the sharing of your caller ID information. Some electronic communication devices will assign a random 10-digit number for you that changes with every call you make. This is a good way to get through to people who screen blocked calls.
Exceptions to the Blocking Code Trick: 911 and 1-800 Calls
There are some limitations to the temporary blocking code trick. For example, if you call a 1-800 number or 911, the caller ID blocking trick won’t work. If you’re in an emergency and need the individuals on the other end of your 911 call to respond, you’ll be glad that they have access to your phone number and other pertinent information.
If you’re calling from a landline, the 911 operators can see your exact location. When your call comes from a cell phone or similar electronic device, the GPS technology (generally enabled unless you disable it) makes it possible for emergency dispatchers to find your longitude and latitude. It is possible to disable the GPS but be aware that this could cause trouble if you need emergency responders.
If you need to make a 1-800 call and want to protect your privacy, you’ll need to find a different trick. The technology used to complete 1-800 calls is the same used for operator assistance, a situation that understandably requires your phone number. Don’t forget that you may need to block your caller ID every time you make a phone call. Tricks such as dialing a special code before dialing the rest of the phone number only last for the duration of that call.
Calling as a Blocked Number
Other drawbacks to blocking your caller ID and phone number information include the possibility that the person on the other end of the call won’t answer the phone. Think about the calls from unknown numbers you receive during the day and consider how many of those you don’t answer. If you want to reach an individual without sharing your phone number, you run the risk of your call going unanswered.
Protect Your Private Information
Do you have a smartphone in your pocket right now? Think of all the personal data you have stored on that device, including the addresses and personal information of your family, friends, and coworkers. You may have personal photos and banking numbers stored on your phone. Without too much effort, a thief or hacker could invade your privacy and take advantage of that convenient access to your sensitive information. Begin protecting your information by learning simple tricks such as disabling your caller ID.