Facebook asks users to update their phone number to make their account safe, if you don’t put your contact no, it’ll remind you every time you log in, generally every active Facebook user updates their contact number on Facebook to make their account safe.
Now Facebook requires a mobile number to verify the account and to unlock few features like video upload and URL personalization.
You can select privacy level for your phone number, this privacy setting controls who can see your phone number you may restrict everyone to see your phone number, or it may be visible to your friends according to your privacy setting.
Setting your phone number to private makes it invisible to the public, but it may be publically available on Reverse phone lookup on Facebook.
Lets you got a strange call from an unknown number then you can check that number on Facebook search it may result in owner’s Facebook profile. Reverse phone lookup on Facebook is becoming new caller ID detection tool.
There are millions of new users are getting online and having a Facebook profile every month, it is not necessary that everyone knows how they can completely hide their phone number, according to PC world – Very few users alter their default privacy settings on Facebook.
After setting your phone number to private you thinks your phone number is safe on Facebook then you may be wrong until you change another setting which I will discuss in this article.
Your number may be accessible to everyone in reverse phone lookup on Facebook, whenever you search your friends phone number on Facebook search box it does show your friend’s profile, if you search your number it will show your profile, but if you just alter the last digit of your number and search it on Facebook it may show someone else profile.
How does reverse phone lookup on Facebook Works?
Let’s say my phone number is 9990990280 (which is not) if I search this number in Facebook search box it will show my profile but if I search for 9990990281 it will show me another person’s Facebook profile, if I keeps changing the last few digit of my contact number I can get many Facebook profile with their phone number.
It is not necessary that every contact number I search for will be available on Facebook.
Let’s have a look how I got contact numbers of different peoples living in my city, I just changed last 2 or 3 digits of my number and searched it on Facebook.
It didn’t take me more than 5 minutes to get around 10 contact numbers, what I got by searching these numbers on Facebook-
- Contact Number
- Age group ( By looking at their DP)
- City or Location
- Users Facebook profile
- Their interest (If not set to private)
- Relationship Status ( If not set to private)
- Works or business they do.
One may get much information depending on the privacy of profile, generally, male users keep low privacy than female users.
How can attackers misuse such information?
So the question is how this information is beneficial to me or what I am going to get by looking different contact numbers on Facebook?
Obviously, I have nothing to do with such information but what about a telemarketer, scammer or attackers?
Such information is dream of every telemarketer, advertisers, and scammers, they have everything to target a person according to their ad campaign, they can send SMS or directly call the person, approaching a user by phone is much more effective in a spear vishing (voice phishing) attack, mostly because the computer user is not aware of the fact that their phone number may have ended up in the wrong hands.
According to Facebook – “The ability to search for a person by phone number is intentional behavior and not a bug in Facebook”. “By default, your privacy settings allow everyone to find you with search and friend finder using the contact info you have provided, such as your email address and phone number. You can modify these settings at any time from the Privacy Settings page.”
An independent security researcher Suriya Prakash created a script to look up 10,000 phone numbers at a time, and notified the Facebook about this vulnerability, at that point of time Facebook didn’t have any limit to restrict the number of searches a user can do.
Following Suriya’s disclosure Tyler Borland, another security researcher developed an even more efficient script that can run up to 10 Facebook phone search processes at the same time.
After this vulnerability came into highlight Facebook tweaked their system and it is no longer possible to do mass scale lookups using automated scripts. “Now a user can perform a limited number of reverse lookups from a given IP address”, – Facebook said.
But still one can manually perform searches and can find such information, creating a Fake Facebook profile and changing IP using VPN isn’t a tough task, a dedicated scammer can find more than thousands contact information in few days.
How to Protect your phone number in Reverse Phone Lookup on Facebook
Well, there is another privacy setting which you need to change to stop your number to appear in reverse phone lookup on Facebook.
Go to Settings – Privacy and find Who can look you up using the phone number you provided? and change it to Friends or Friends of Friends.
The disturbing fact is, most of the user don’t alter their default privacy setting, a new Facebook user even don’t know that someone can look up their phone number using reverse phone lookup on Facebook and they may end up losing their money to the scammers.
So it is advised to keep your look up setting to Friends or Friends of Friends which offers more security to your personal information.
If you want to be safe and secure on Facebook heads over to this article, which shows you to keep your account even more safe and private.
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