The term ‘number neighbor’ (“number neighbour” for our UK readers), or the cutesy “text door neighbors”, refers to the person who has the telephone number adjacent to yours. #numberneighbor is now trending on Twitter, as people text their number neighbors and post screenshots of the conversations to Twitter.
The thing is, this is no less dangerous – and in some ways more dangerous – than randomly stopping someone on the street to chat them up.
Think about it. If you stop a stranger on the street and talk to them, they don’t know your name, they don’t know your address, and they don’t know your telephone number.
As soon as you text someone they know your phone number, from which can often be derived all sorts of things. Now, you may be thinking that they could do that anyways; after all, they already know your telephone number because you are their number neighbor also.
But a strange thing happens when you start talking (texting) with someone. You give away little things about yourself. If nothing else, you mark yourself as someone who is friendly and open to talking with strangers, and who probably has Twitter (as this is where this trend has really exploded). And some people go all out and meet their number neighbors, based on little more than the coincidence of them having a phone number that is one off from their own.
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We’re sure that you are thinking “Well, I would never actually give out any personal information,” (hint: you already have), “and I certainly would never meet someone based on only that they are my number neighbor.”
Yet what is the point of reaching out to your number neighbor if not to chat with them? Isn’t the whole point of reaching out and texting your number neighbor to see how they respond, and take it from there? Nearly anything and almost everything you say to them can be mined to create a way to socially engineer their way into your identity, if not your life.
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Even if they turn out to not be social engineering scamming masters, they are as likely as not to be, at least, nonplussed by you – a complete stranger – intruding on their day and taking up their time, if not downright annoyed or even angry.
So, yeah, as fun as it may seem, texting your number neighbor just is not a great idea. In fact, it’s probably a downright bad idea.
Like mom said, don’t text to strangers.
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