Businesses Can Now Text Their Customers — Is Your Personal Data Still Safe?


Your phone lights up with a new text message alert. It’s from a company you’ve bought a product from recently, announcing that they have a deal they wanted to share with you. You think how this happened and realize you had given them your cell phone number, but know you’re concerned about what this means for your personal data. This is what you need to know in this age of businesses texting their customers.

Why is Giving Out Your Phone Number Risky?

Never forget that your phone number belongs to you. So many businesses and other entities have your phone number, and while some, like your employer or doctor’s office, should have them, others most certainly should not. If you give your phone number out to a business like a large retailer, you might be unwittingly agreeing to let them share it with all sorts of other, tangibly-related businesses who are now able to interact with you or study certain things about you. Market research executives crave to get this kind of information so they can influence shoppers. Take a stand by asserting that you only need to give it to people and businesses who actually need it.

Data Security Laws

The good news is that, even if you do give out your phone number to a business, they’re under obligation to not do anything unscrupulous with your data. Group texting companies are legally required to secure customers’ personal information. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be vigilant about what’s going on with your data. If you have evidence or suspicion that a business has shared your data without the proper authority, you need to call them out on it and warn others.

How to Keep Your Data Safe

Knowing personal data risks doesn’t mean you should swear off technology. It just means that you need to be more mindful of how you use your data. You should have strong passwords, encrypted data, and be running virus protection. Change your passwords regularly and don’t open any suspicious emails. It might seem like a lot to keep track of at first, but you’ll get so used to it that it’ll be harder to not stay alert.

While businesses might be able to text their customers, that doesn’t mean customers can’t have a say in who sees their personal information or if they want to continue being texted. The technological revolution has made communication faster than ever, but that doesn’t mean it should impair our ability to feel like we can use the internet and smartphones without feeling like others are spying on us.

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