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Can people get my phone number from my web page?

I read in a novel that it is possible to track a telephone number via your
webpage. Is that possible? I would like to know because it is somewhat
disturbing.

It really depends on what you mean by “your webpage”. There are definitely
scenarios where you need and/or want to be particular careful about what
information you provide. But most people don’t need to worry.

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If you purchase your own internet domain, one of the things you are required
to provide is a working telephone number. There are various ways to
not provide your own home phone number, but many people forget or
don’t bother, and as a result their information – sometimes even their home
address – can be quickly found by doing what’s called a “whois” look up on the
domain name.

For example, if you go out to DNSstuff.com, scroll down to the tool labelled WHOIS
lookup
, enter a domain name there and press the WHOIS
button, you’ll get this information. Do it for “ask-leo.com”, and you’ll see in
part, something like this:

Domain name: ask-leo.com
Registrant Contact:
   Puget Sound Software
   Leo Notenboom ****@pugetsoundsoftware.com)
   +1.2067740432
   Fax: +1.2067740432
   P.O. Box  2841
   Woodinville, WA 98072
   US

That’s my contact information. The email is cloaked, but often it’s not. But
you’ll notice a phone number and a mailing address. Both are required.

You’ll note that I’ve preserved my private information by using a post
office box. And the phone number? It’s not my home number by any stretch. If I
didn’t want to take those steps there are also services that will act as an
intermediary – you list their information, and they filter any attempts to
contact you.

“… the
real risk is the information that you had to provide …”

But if you’re not careful, it’s all to easy to forget and actually set up
your home address and phone number in the registation information.

If “your web page” is something else, like your page on myspace.com, a
blogging service or some other service that gives you a place to have a web
page, the answer varies. You should definitely take care to make sure that any
information you’re required to provide isn’t published by the provider, or if
it is, that you obfuscate it some how. For example when you create your profile
on a service like Hotmail, there’s no reason to provide your real phone number.
In fact, if you choose to make your profile public, there’s every reason not
to. More importantly: if you have the option, don’t allow your profile
to be public to begin with.

So the bottom line is that for any web page that you put out on the web, the
real risk is the information that you had to provide to make it. If
you take care to give appropriately obscure information, or make sure that the
provider doesn’t just hand it out, you should be quite safe from casual
contact.

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6 comments on “Can people get my phone number from my web page?”

  1. i.e. domain registration
    Network Solutions has a service called Private Registration. Instead of posting your contact information it directs everything through Network Solutions to be forwarded to you.

    For example:
    Your name s438u8y6@networksolutionsprivateregistration.com
    ATTN: xrewa.NET
    c/o Network Solutions
    P.O. Box 447
    Herndon, VA 20172-0447
    Phone: 570-708-8780

    I suspect that other services have something like this.

    Reply
  2. Wow, THAT was revealing…Although it’s nothing more than you could find in a phone book (online or paper), and I think I sort of knew that info was out there (since I have looked up many IPs/names in the past just to see if they are on the up and up, but…still a bit dismaying the amount of information revealed. Not that I can think of a single phone call in 6+ years that has anything to do with owning a domain (although maybe that is why I get unsolicited faxes from Dell?). So if I want to change the info that is displayed by whois for the world to see for a domain I own (and have for many years), what should I do? Contact my registration provider or???? And is there a similar trick that will work to block calls from credit-card companies wanting to pre-approve me for yet another one 🙂

    As for network solutions, I’ve seen many incoming “pings” etc. from various IPs linked to this group blocked by my firewall, to the point I’m considering a general block on any IP associated with them, just because there’s no identifying info. Something to think about…

    Cheers,
    Lelani

    Reply
  3. —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA1

    Yes, once you have replacement information (PO BOX and a “safe” phone number)
    you’d simply contact your registrar to update it. Many allow you to update it
    yourself in your domain adaministration tool.

    NOTE: It’s CRTICAL that the information be VALID. If you put up bogus
    information you risk losing your domain. ICANN, the agency that manages all
    this stuff, requires valid information.

    That’s why, as a previous commenter noted, many registrars (not just NetSol)
    also offer the ability to cloak your contact information with their own. It’s
    valid, and if a valid contact is made, they can then pass it on to you
    properly.

    Good luck!

    Leo
    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
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    iD8DBQFGBUj+CMEe9B/8oqERAtqvAJ0ZQgqQ7wIRZ9eMf9B3GjvyX7olkgCbBCwc
    3qTwV026fJgLE9qsKlASPcM=
    =IAQ0
    —–END PGP SIGNATURE—–

    Reply
  4. I will check with my registration co. to see if they offer “cloaking”. In the meantime…

    I’ve had the requisite box number since day one but the phone number (don’t care so much about fax apart from wasted paper) is more problematic. What do I use instead? My business? My partners (both computer illiterate) won’t thank me if calls begin coming in as a result (we get enough scams wanting to sell us paper for the direct debit machine at wildly inflated prices). My neighbour? This is such a small town that if someone calls the wrong number and asks for me the neighbour will just give them the number, happens all the time (often to the great surprise of the caller)…And I’m not about to pay the phone company another $30-$50 per month for a “dummy” line. So what other VALID options are available?

    Thanks!
    Lelani

    Reply
  5. —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA1

    Actually I use maxemail.com which is around $24 a year for a valid FAX number
    that also takes voicemail and emails it to me.

    But yes, options are limited. That’s why sercices from the various registrars
    are appealing for the casual user.

    Leo
    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
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    iD8DBQFGBrXSCMEe9B/8oqERAoncAJ9XUgmPn0CdVFz7Ad2l+SvnrU+9RwCfcOOL
    pcV/QPmywrqA8N1MChl28mU=
    =cEuI
    —–END PGP SIGNATURE—–

    Reply
  6. Hello Leo,

    I have a problem that is spinning my head.My computer have virus so I bought mcafee antivirus to install and remove the virus. The problem is that every time I go to install the program from the cd it does not booth up, I also tried installing it from start run but no avail. Could U please tell me what I am doing wrong.

    Thank you for all the questions and solutions that you give us all the time. You what ? U rock.

    Thanks,
    LC

    Reply

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