These days, switching your phone number is akin to undergoing reconstructive surgery, faking your death, and migrating to an exotic country undetected.
An incredible amount of communication now comes through Skype calls, WhatsApp, and dozens of apps that even recognise you by your phone number. To minimise the chaos when you switch numbers, remember to do the following:
Step 1: Before you switch that SIM card, make sure your contacts list is saved
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.
Step 2: For important work contacts, verify their numbers
For contacts like clients, senior management, colleagues in a different department, business partners etc. make sure their numbers are valid. Otherwise, once you change your number, they may not have a way to get in touch with you easily. If their number isn’t valid, make a note to inform them some other way, such as via email.
Step 3: Update your key service providers
These days, most service providers contact you through email; but just in case they need to call you, do update them as well. 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
Other than being easily contactable, it is especially important to update your bank on your mobile number change as mobile wallets like PayNow and DBS PayLah! are linked to your mobile number. This can easily be done via online banking for PayNow, whereas PayLah! users can simply log into your PayLah! account to do so.
Once you have updated the bank about your mobile number change, your old mobile number will automatically be de-registered from PayNow. You’ll receive an SMS notification to confirm the de-registration, and so should perform this before you give up your old number; after that, you can register your new mobile number as a PayNow proxy.
It’s important to delink your old mobile numbers, because mobile numbers are sometimes recycled. This means its possible for a friend to transfer money to the wrong person (even if you’ve only JUST given up your old number), if someone else has “inherited” your old phone number.
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.
Likewise, if your doctor sends private medical information to your old number, it may end up in someone else’s hands.
For ride share services like Grab, GoJek, etc. be sure to change your phone number from within the app. If you set up a whole new account, you’ll lose any accumulated rewards.
Also, remember that the drivers can’t contact you properly, if your phone number isn’t updated.
Finally, 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 – also applies to e-wallets.
Step 4: Make sure you don’t get 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 login. So change your number on these accounts as well.
And for Singaporeans, the most important account to update your mobile number? Your Singpass account – Yes. High Priority. Please. Remember.
Step 5: Prepare your mass message to tell the whole world of your life-shifting change
Try not to just send a message like “Hi, X here, my new number is…etc.”
The first reason is that a lot of phishing messages look that way. Provide greater proof that you’re not some scammer or bot blasting out a message; write something like “Hi everyone, I’m XYZ from TopCorp; this is to inform you that my number is being changed from 12345678 to…etc.”
The second reason is that you may have colleagues or clients reading the message too. It just takes seconds to add a bit of professional polish.
Step 6: Make sure things are in place for your mass notification
We’ll use WhatsApp in this example, since it’s the most widely used.
To change your number on WhatsApp (and inform all your contacts), you need to make sure your new phone number is receiving SMS 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 continue. You’ll be prompted to enter your old and new number, and you can also select the contacts to mass notify.
Step 7: Do a quick follow-up with your more important contacts, after a mass-send
Pick out the more important contacts, like your boss and colleagues, and drop them a note. Tell them you sent a message about changing your number, and you want to be sure they received it. Remind the friends whom you regularly hang out with that your mobile number has changed whenever you are splitting a bill via peer-to-peer mobile payment methods.
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. Here’s how to Live Cyberstrong with our #BSHARP guide.