Changing your phone number? Here’s your handy to-do list
It is unlikely anyone would deny that our mobile phones are not part of our lives today. From chatting with friends and communicating with colleagues through Skype, WhatsApp to using our phone as our One-Time Password (OTP) device for 2-Factor Authentication (2FA), or as our digital token, the role of mobile phones is now entrenched in our day-to-day activities.
With our mobile phone numbers inextricably linked to our lives today, it becomes important for us to ensure that some key steps are taken when changing our phone number. This will help you minimise the chaos when you switch numbers.
Here’s a handy checklist of what you should do when changing your phone number:
1. Sync and store your contact list to avoid data loss
Don’t trust the cloud, don’t trust the phone memory, and don’t trust your own memory. Just in case something does go wrong, always make sure your contact list is saved somewhere. This will be a lifesaver, in case any data gets wiped when switching SIM cards.
As a good practice, you should always have two (or more) sources of storage for your contact list. For example, you can sync it to the cloud and store a copy of your contact list in your mobile/SIM card.
2. Verify the numbers of your important contacts, especially work contacts
Before switching over to your new number, make sure that you verify the numbers of your important contacts. It can be as simple as dropping them a message to update them that you are changing your mobile number. Alternatively, if their mobile number is no longer in use, try dropping them a Facebook message instead.
For important work contacts like clients, senior management, colleagues in a different department, business partners etc., verify and ensure that their numbers are valid. If not, they may not have a way to get in touch with you easily once you change your number. If you find that their number isn’t valid, make a note to inform them such as via email.
3. Don’t forget to update your key service providers
While most service providers contact you through email, you never know when they might need to call you. So, do update your new mobile number to your service providers, just in case they need to reach you. Some of the main ones to note are:
- Your bank (very important! Read more below)
- Tuition centres and schools
- Your family doctor, dentist, or other healthcare professionals, and those where you’re listed as someone’s emergency contact
- Any courier services, particularly if you’re expecting a valuable delivery
- Ride share services
Why it is important to delink your old mobile phone number
Other than being easily contactable, it is especially important to update your new mobile number with your bank as mobile wallets are used to store your credit/debit cards, while mobile payments like PayNow and DBS PayLah! are linked to your mobile number.
You will also be able to continue to keep track of your transactions on your accounts and be alerted in the event of unauthorised transactions.
Once you have updated the bank about your change, your old mobile number will automatically be de-registered from the linked services.
1. Potential risk of financial loss
It’s important to delink your old mobile number because mobile numbers are sometimes recycled. This means that it is possible for a friend to transfer money to the wrong person if someone else has “inherited” your old phone number. This can happen even if you’ve only JUST given up your old number!
One tip is to always verify your recipient’s phone number prior to sending your funds.
While your bank will try its best to recover the funds if you report this (you have to report it right away, don’t wait), it’s best to save yourself the trouble from the start.
Besides your bank, you should check the instructions for changing phone numbers on your various e-wallets (the process may be different for each one). Any of the above situations – such as someone else getting a hold of your money, or losing any cash in the account – will apply to e-wallets.
2. Potential risk of losing personal information
Likewise, if your doctor sends private medical information to your old number, it may end up in someone else’s hands.
3. Potential risk of disruption of services
For ride share services like Grab, GoJek, etc. be sure to change your phone number from within the app. (P.S. If you set up a whole new account, you’ll lose any accumulated rewards.) If your number isn’t updated, then your ride-hailing drivers can’t contact you to find your exact location. You won’t want this to happen to you while you are in a rush.
4. Don’t get yourself unnecessarily locked out of your accounts
Some accounts – such as shopping portals or social media accounts – are linked to your phone number. If you lose your password for some reason, your phone number may be required to reset your password. Some even send you codes before you can activate your account or login.
That’s why you need to change your number on these accounts as well. Or else, you will be locked out of your account and have to go through a whole lot of trouble just to unlock them.
And, for Singaporeans, the most important account to update your mobile number? Your Singpass account – Yes. High Priority. Please. Remember.
Prepare your mass message to inform the whole world of your life-shifting change
You have sorted out the necessary administrative matters and are ready to tell the whole world of your newfound eight magical digits.
You might be tempted to just send a message like “Hi, X here, my new number is…etc”. But try not to do that. This is because that’s how a lot of phishing messages look like. You need to provide greater proof that you’re not some scammer or bot blasting out a message. You can try this instead:
“Hi everyone, I’m XYZ from TopCorp; this is to inform you that my number is being changed from 12345678 to…etc.”
The other reason is that you may have colleagues or clients reading the message too. Plus, it just takes a few seconds to add a bit of professional polish.
1. Ensure Things Are In Place For Your Mass Notification
One way to inform everyone of your number change is through WhatsApp since it is a commonly used messaging app.
To change your number on WhatsApp (and inform all your contacts), you need to make sure your new phone number is receiving SMS-es or calls and has a data connection. You also need to check that your old phone number is verified in Whatsapp.
First, insert your SIM card, then look under Menu > Settings > Profile. You’ll be able to see if your number is verified. If everything checks out, you can then go to Menu > Settings > Change my number to continue. You’ll be prompted to enter your old and new number, and you can also select the contacts to mass notify.
2. Do A Quick Follow-Up With Your Important Contacts After A Mass-Send
For your more important contacts (e.g. your boss, colleague), it is best if you drop them a personal note to update them about your change of phone number. It works as a way for you to verify that they have received it.
For friends whom you regularly hang out with, do send them a personal note to ensure that they have updated your number. It can be troublesome if they end up transferring money to your old mobile when splitting a bill via peer-to-peer mobile payment methods.
Always remember that your mobile number holds a wealth of information that can prove costly if it falls in the wrong hands. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and maintain good digital habits. Check out our #BSHARP guide on more tips of how to Live Cyberstrong.