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Does Facebook have your phone number? You may be in trouble now

Facebook for mobile phoneGive me 30 seconds and your phone number and I will reveal even your deepest secrets. In case you’ve written them on Facebook.

Have you ever been wondering why do phone scammers, your potential employers, love interests and other stalkers have so much information about you? They don't need anything but one thing: your phone number.

Strangers can look you up on Facebook, using your phone number

You probably remember that, but for those who don’t, here’s the fact. Facebook knows what your personal mobile phone number is. Maybe you typed it long ago, when you were creating your account, maybe Facebook asked you for it, when you were launching Facebook for mobile.

And here it gets tricky. Because even if you set your mobile phone number as private on Facebook, complete strangers can still look you up on Facebook, knowing nothing about you but your number. (It can lead to a real disaster, as we warned recently when we were speaking about grandparent scam.)

Setting that leads to troubles

It’s all about one unknown Facebook feature. When you type a phone number into the search bar on Facebook, you can easily look up anybody. (Which, of course, means, that anybody can look up you.)

It’s because whenever the “who can look me up by phone” setting is set to public, your phone number is public. Two big issues with this:

  • This setting is set to public by default.
  • Even though your phone number on your profile is set to ‘only me’, the ‘who can look me up’ setting overrules this. Oops.

How to change the setting?

If you want to stay safe, be sure to turn the “who can look me up” setting from “”anybody” to “friends only”. How to do that?

On your Facebook page, go to the Privacy Setting and Tools. Then find the “Who can look me up by the phone number” setting and change it to Friends. Done! :-)

And remember, there are still other ways how to misuse your phone number (and most of them are not very pleasant). If you want to be sure nobody will bother you or your family, try the Should I Answer app. It will check all incoming calls from unknown numbers for you and warn you before you even answer them.


(Not an Android user? Let’s check the new app for your iPhone)