Scam Likely: What To Do If a Scammer Has Your Phone Number

Spam calls are one way bad actors can obtain your personal information to commit fraud. Learn how to avoid phone scams and protect your identity.
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There’s nothing more frustrating than receiving multiple scam calls every day. Sure, ignoring spam calls and blocking the numbers are quick solutions. But why won’t the calls end? These scammers hope you’ll answer and unknowingly help them gain access to your personal information — and possibly steal your identity.

The best way to protect yourself is by using an identity theft protection service, which will alert you if your information has been compromised. This proactive approach can help you stop any identity theft and, in some cases, help you recoup any losses from the incident.

Before finding an identity theft protection solution, let’s look at how bad actors could use your phone number to scam you.

In this article
What to do if a scammer has your phone number
Ways scammers can gain access to your phone number
What scammers can do with your phone number
How to protect yourself from phone scammers
Bottom line: Stop the Scam Likely

What to do if a scammer has your phone number

While it may not seem like a big deal for someone to have your phone number, it can give scammers enough information to set you up for identity theft. Once they have your cell phone number, scammers work to gain your personally identifiable information through repeated spam calls.

Blocking numbers is an excellent first line of defense, but hackers could use your cell phone number for phone scams without contacting you. These scams could give them access to your identity and jeopardize your Social Security number and other personal information.

Unwanted calls are annoying. Even worse, they may also indicate that your identity is jeopardized. Here are several things you can do if a scammer has your phone number.

Document evidence

If you think your phone number or personal information has been compromised, you should note the instances and any actions that seem suspicious. By documenting the incident, you can recoup some of your losses and provide ample information to the authorities to help them in their investigation.

Block the scammer

If you receive spam phone calls or notice suspicious activity, you should block the spammer's phone number or email address to minimize the chances of accidentally sharing information.

Alert your friends and family

If you think your information may have been compromised, you may want to inform close friends and family to look for out-of-the-ordinary communications from “you.”

Report suspicious activity to the messaging platform

If you believe you’re being scammed through a messaging or social media platform, you should also report the activity to the messaging platform. Scammers may start on these platforms hoping to get your cell phone number or other personal information.

Contact your bank or financial institution

If you think your identity has been compromised, notify your bank or financial institution so they can be on the lookout for any suspicious activity. This can help minimize any traction the scammer may have.

Contact your mobile carrier

If your cell phone number has been compromised and you believe your accounts may be in jeopardy, you should also contact your mobile carrier to inform them of the activity. This can help reduce the chances that a scammer can change your account.

Lock your SIM card

Scammers may try to access your accounts by swapping your SIM card and getting unfettered access to your cell phone. To help protect yourself, lock your SIM card with your mobile carrier. This will require an additional PIN when changing your cell phone account. You can also set up a PIN directly in your phone’s settings on an iPhone.

Place an alert on your credit report

Scammers may use your phone number to gain access to more personal information, such as your Social Security number. They may use that information to open new credit accounts using your identity. By freezing your credit or placing an alert on your credit report, you can stop scammers from opening new accounts in your name.

Set up two-factor authentication

If you believe you have been scammed or you’ve noticed an uptick in spam calls, you should ensure that you’re using two-factor authentication (2FA) on all accounts that offer it. Two-factor authentication gives you an extra layer of security and makes it more difficult for people to access your accounts.

Report the incident

If your identity has been stolen through a phone scam, or if you’ve been scammed, you should report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission. You can submit a fraud report online at

You should also report the identity fraud to local law enforcement, in case the scammer is working in a specific geographic area and to safeguard yourself from further damages.

Install antivirus and invest in identity theft protection

One of the best ways to protect yourself from phone scammers and identity theft is through antivirus software and identity theft protection solutions. Both of these give you a proactive approach to protecting your information.

Ways scammers can gain access to your phone number

There are no rules when it comes to scammers getting your cell phone number and gaining your personal information. Scammers work diligently to access your financials, and the scam could last days or weeks. There are a lot of ways scammers can get access to your phone number. Here are a few to look out for.

  • Social media profiles: Scammers can use social media accounts to find your phone number or other information. Bogus friend requests on social media may be part of a scam to access information.
  • Data broker lists: Your information may be available through data broker lists. These lists may have initially gained access to your information through an online form, but now the data is being sold to other parties.
  • The dark web: If your information has been involved in a data breach, your personally identifiable information may be on the dark web. Scammers use the dark web to buy or discover sensitive information, which they can then use to target unsuspecting victims.
  • Stolen mail: Your physical mail could include personal information that scammers can use to target you or your family.
  • Target lists: Scammers may purchase target lists, which include a list of people who may be good targets for phone scams. You could end up on one of these lists because you’ve fallen for a scam previously.
  • Shoulder surfing: Scammers may access your number by spying over your shoulder or other people’s devices.
  • Phishing scams: Scammers may also use phishing tactics to get you to unsuspectingly click on a link or provide additional information to help them gain access to your data and information.
  • Autodialers: You may receive automated spam calls that scammers use to identify the best targets for a more in-depth attack. If you answer an autodialer call, you should hang up.

What scammers can do with your phone number

We know that scammers use all kinds of tricks to obtain your phone number. But once they have it, what can scammers do with it?

  • Launch phishing attacks to learn your personally identifiable information. Scammers can solicit additional information by calling or texting you and asking questions that seem ordinary.
  • Reroute your phone number. One way scammers can gain more access to your information is by forwarding or rerouting your phone number to a different device. They can then use two-factor authentication codes or phone calls to gain access to your accounts.
  • Conduct SIM swaps. Scammers can port over your phone number to a new phone by conducting a SIM swap. This takes your phone number and moves it to a different device.
  • Spoof your number to target your contacts. In some cases, scammers may want to use your phone number to access your contacts and gain more information. By spoofing your number, they can contact others and appear to be you.
  • Hack into your online accounts. Your phone number may be the information necessary to gain access to your online accounts. Scammers may try to access different accounts using your phone number as a username or for two-factor authentication.
  • Send you malware or spyware. You may receive vague links from scammers via text with links to malware or spyware. If you click on the link, the scammer can download malware on your phone and gain access to your information.
  • Extort or blackmail you. Scammers can use your phone number to obtain private information about you and then blackmail you into paying them so they won’t release it.
  • Scam others online with Google Voice. If a scammer has access to your phone or text messages, they may be able to set up an account through Google Voice to scam more people. They use Google Voice with your phone number, giving them the ability to appear as you.
  • Dox you and/or sell your information on the dark web. Scammers may be working to gain access to your sensitive information. Once they have that data, they can sell your information on the dark web. Buyers of this info may use it to harass you or steal your identity.

How to protect yourself from phone scammers

The best way to avoid being scammed is through a proactive approach to protecting your identity. Here are a few tips to help protect your online accounts.

  1. Enable two-step verification (2FA) and always use strong passwords.
  2. Adjust your privacy settings to control who can contact you and limit the visibility of your personal information.
  3. Report suspicious activity.
  4. Try to verify unknown numbers sending unsolicited messages.
  5. Don’t click on suspicious links.
  6. Look for spelling or grammatical errors in correspondences. These can be scam emails or text messages.
  7. Be cautious of urgent messaging and other high-pressure tactics.
  8. Always question the legitimacy of unsolicited communications, including messages, links, or offers.
  9. Don’t disclose personal information.
  10. Remove your phone number from data broker lists.
  11. Install a call-blocking app or use the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone to block scam calls and unknown numbers.
  12. Ignore one-ring phone scams.
  13. Use caution when sharing your phone number online.
  14. Be cognizant of who can see your phone when in public.
  15. Don’t input your personal information into untrustworthy websites.
  16. Verify any suspicious activity from friends or family.
  17. Be proactive in monitoring your credit report and online presence.
  18. Invest in identity theft protection.

Best identity theft protection services

Get real-time alerts and monitoring of your personal information with an identity theft protection service. These services may also provide insurance to help mitigate any costs associated with an identity theft incident.

  • LifeLock by Norton: LifeLock is a great solution for identity theft protection. You can purchase individual or family plans that give you access to up to $3 million in identity theft reimbursement. LifeLock monitors your credit for suspicious activity, your social media accounts, and your phone.

    Get LifeLock | Read Our LifeLock Review

Editorial Rating
Learn More
On LifeLock's website
Up to 52% off first year when paid annually
  • Top-rated identity theft protection service
  • Provides up to $3 million in coverage
  • Multiple monitoring features including dark web, home title, and social media monitoring
  • Customer support experience is lacking

  • Aura: Another identity theft solution, Aura, offers three different plans, which makes it easy to get all of the ID theft tools you need. Aura’s plans are based on the number of people who need coverage: Individual, Couple, or Family. Aura’s Family plan includes spam call and message protection, which can help protect your phone number.

    Get Aura | Read Our Aura Review

Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Aura Identity Theft's website
Aura Identity Theft
Up to 68% off Family Annual Plans
  • Excellent identity theft protection service
  • Includes a password manager and VPN
  • Robust tools for children’s security
  • Provides VantageScore and not FICO score updates

  • IDShield: IDShield also offers individual and family memberships. You can choose between one or three credit bureau monitoring plans. Otherwise, all of the plans come with the same features and protections. IDShield doesn’t offer anything specific for phone monitoring, but it offers other ID theft monitoring tools.

    Get IDShield | Read Our IDShield Review

Editorial Rating
Learn More
On IDShield's website
  • Full identity protection features included on all plans
  • Comes with bonus VPN and password manager
  • Affordable pricing compared to other options
  • Limited customer support



Why would a scammer want my phone number?

By gaining access to your phone number, scammers can employ phishing tactics to obtain access to your personally identifiable information or online accounts. They may do this by calling you to ask for additional information or using your phone number to attempt to access accounts.


What if a scammer has my phone number?

If a scammer has your phone number, they may use this information to obtain access to your personal information and use it to steal your identity.


Can someone hack my bank account with my mobile number?

It is possible that someone can hack your bank account with your mobile number. The hackers may need to get additional information to do so, but your phone number may be the information needed to start uncovering how to access your accounts.


What do I do if my mobile number is being used by someone else?

Contact your cell phone provider and let them know that you believe your phone number is being used by someone else. The cell phone carrier will be able to regain access to your phone number.


Should I change my phone number if I gave it to a scammer?

If you suspect you gave your phone number to a scammer, you should be vigilant in monitoring your accounts for ID theft. If you do have any losses or accounts jeopardized, it may be a good idea to change your phone number to help end the ID theft.


How do I stop scammers from using my phone number?

To prevent scammers from using your phone number, set up appropriate precautions on your accounts, such as two-factor authentication, freezing your credit accounts, and locking your SIM. These steps can help ensure that a scammer can’t do anything with your phone number.

Bottom line: Stop the Scam Likely

While scammers work around the clock to find unsuspecting victims, you can protect yourself by understanding how scammers work and looking for suspicious activity. Your phone number is just the first piece of information scammers need to steal your identity. They can use your phone number to trick you or your friends into providing sensitive information that can give them access to your online accounts.

The best way to avoid scammers and protect yourself is to use an identity theft protection service. These solutions can monitor the dark web and other sources to ensure your information is safe. If your information is found, an ID theft service will alert you immediately and help you mediate the situation.

Editorial Rating
Learn More
On Aura Identity Theft's website
Aura Identity Theft
Up to 68% off Family Annual Plans
  • Excellent identity theft protection service
  • Includes a password manager and VPN
  • Robust tools for children’s security
  • Provides VantageScore and not FICO score updates

Author Details
Andrew Strom Adams is a freelance writer focused on online privacy and digital security. He writes on various topics to help individuals protect themselves on the internet. Andrew has worked in legal marketing, technology, and startups. He has more than 12 years of experience in marketing and communications. He holds an M.B.A. from Westminster College and a B.A. in journalism from Oklahoma Baptist University. When he’s not writing, he’s playing with his two kids or watching reality TV.