In a continued battle against personal data theft, security experts are seeing an increase in mobile phone number theft by criminals. Phone numbers are lucrative targets because many people keep the same number for a long time, and mobile security threats are increasing. Threats such as rogue app downloads, auto-dialers, and paid SMS services, among other threats, can quietly tack on monthly charges.
"Phone numbers are unique identifiers that tend to last for a long time," noted Michael Fertik, Reputation.com CEO, in a statement. "You change your phone number much less often than your IP address and probably even your home address."
Cyber criminals want to collect as much personal information as possible, with full names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, and other sensitive information. Users are increasingly using mobile devices, which opens them up further to potential security threats that are difficult to combat. More than 4.6 million Snapchat users had their phone numbers published online, with similar breaches also reported throughout 2013.