“Canceling Your Cell Number: Self-Sabotage?” Key Steps Before Switching.

Recently, the topic of “cancelling your cell number is like selling yourself” has sparked discussion, with netizens expressing doubts about changing or cancelling their phone numbers.

This topic originated from a security prevention video. The video mentions that after a phone number is cancelled, the telecom operator will put it back into the market for sale. If apps like Alipay and WeChat are not unbound, new users can log into the old user’s account through SMS verification, posing significant security risks.

So, what should we pay attention to in such situations?

After cancelling your cell number,

it is reissued by the telecom operator

How long does it take for a cancelled phone number to be released back into the market? Can new users still access the previous usage records of the phone number? Reporters called customer service numbers of China Telecom and China Unicom to inquire as consumers.

In response, both China Telecom and China Unicom customer service stated that after a user cancels their phone number, there is a 90-day freeze period. After this, the number will be reissued but the exact timing of reissue cannot be determined. Therefore, old users need to unbind related apps in advance and register again with a new phone number.

Additionally, after the phone number is reactivated, new users cannot access the previous payment details or related usage records of the old number owner.

Once old users discontinue or abandon their phone numbers, the numbers are reclaimed by the telecom operator, left unused for a period, and then reintroduced into the market for new users to choose from, a process known as “reissuing.”

It is explained that “reissuing” helps recycle number resources effectively, making it a necessary method to activate idle communication resources and is a common practice internationally. With domestic phone numbers consisting mainly of 11 digits and the increasing number of users, some number segments have run out of available new numbers, which is a significant reason for reissuing by telecom operators.

How to check which internet accounts

are associated with your cell number?

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology previously launched the “Identity Unification Search 2.0” service, allowing for a nationwide search for internet accounts under a single identity.

Users can access the service through WeChat public accounts such as “MIIT News,” “MIIT Anti-fraud Taskforce,” “CAICT,” the Alipay “Identity Unification Search” mini-program, and other means by providing their phone number, the last six digits of their ID number, and a verification code to initiate the search. The results are delivered via a unified SMS reply within 48 hours.

If discrepancies are found between the number of internet accounts associated with the user’s phone number and what the user knows, they can click on the “Unbind and Detailed Search” option on the query page. If there are any concerns about the search results, users can contact the company’s customer service for consultation.

Currently, “Identity Unification Search” can reveal the registration status of 16 internet application accounts. If there are more applications users want to check, they can click on the pop-up window on the query page “I want to check more,” select or enter the desired internet company or application for further feedback.

Before changing your phone number, make sure to do the following:

  • Back up phone data
  • Update bank card’s linked phone number
  • Change phone number linked to shopping websites, payment accounts, etc.
  • Update phone number linked to social accounts like Weibo, WeChat, QQ
  • Change phone number linked to cloud services
  • Update membership information
  • After cancelling a phone number, it is advisable to destroy the SIM card rather than dispose of it carelessly.

Ensure to protect your personal information security

Mobile phones store critical personal information, and being careless can lead to privacy breaches and financial losses. Apart from safeguarding personal information while changing or cancelling phone numbers, it is crucial to remain cautious during everyday phone use.

  • Use public devices with caution

Avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi or public charging stations to prevent unauthorized access to non-encrypted information on your phone.

Avoid clicking on online tests requiring personal information, unknown QR codes, or suspicious links in texts, as they may contain malware.

  • Disable features that may leak information on your phone

Disable information-leaking features on commonly used chat apps.

When posting updates, ensure to safeguard personal and family information.

  • Install applications correctly

Download from official sources, especially for banking apps. When setting up passwords, avoid using easily guessable information like birthdays or initials.

The video is sourced from

National Emergency Broadcasting

Source: Sichuan Public Security

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