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We’ll begin by stating the obvious: Thanks to social media, your private life is now ripe for the picking. That especially goes for Facebook. In fact, it’s now easier than ever for hackers and scammers to get their hands on your personal information through the site—especially if you share too much on Facebook. And although you may filter yourself on social media, odds are you’re still vulnerable to online predators, thanks to one little-known feature. (Here’s why you should never argue with anyone on Facebook.)
Those who keep their “who can look me up by phone” setting on Facebook available to the public also allow their phone number to be public, as well. Put another way, if your privacy settings allow anyone to look you up using your phone number, then anyone can see your phone number, too. The setting itself defaults to “public” view, so it could even be turned on without your knowledge. (Science reveals why Facebook is so addictive.)
Sounds a bit worrisome, right? It essentially means that anyone who wants to contact you—including solicitors and scammers—can do so, simply by taking a look at your Facebook profile. (Discover how social media can damage your relationships.)
If you want to save your phone number from prying eyes but still want it on your profile, here’s what to do. Select the down arrow at the top right side of your profile page and choose the Settings option from the drop-down menu. Click “General” from the side menu, then “Contact” to see if you have a number listed. Now, you can limit who can search for you by selecting “Privacy” from the menu on the left side of the page. And you can also change the default setting for “Who can look you up by phone number” to “Friends” or “Friends of friends.” Done!
It’s important to watch what you post. Screen for safety first by avoiding these posting pitfalls.
Originally published as This Is Why You Should Never, Ever Link Your Phone Number to Your Facebook Account on ReadersDigest.com.