When I first got this phone number, I signed up to WhatsApp and noticed I was in group chats with people that I didn't know. I've also been getting genuine calls from people I didn't know. Today I got a message from a person I didn't know. I don't want random people to be able to contact me or see my WhatsApp statuses and profile pictures, and I don't want people accidentally sending confidential information to me because they thought I was the wrong person. I also don't want vice versa happening it the old owner of this number is still using it. I also don't want people thinking I stole the old owner's phone. Why did Fido give me an active phone number? (I got this one just a month ago)
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Welcome to the community!
The number of phone numbers is finite. From time to time, new overlays are created to expand the existing number allocation. However, with the number of users ever increasing, even those overlays fill are quickly exhausted. The practice of recycling numbers is commonplace and necessary. Generally, there is a minimum period where those cancelled phone numbers are not in circulation (see here). So the number you received from Fido wouldn't have been active like you suggest. Unfortunately, if the previous owner did not inform their contacts of the number change, there will be straggle callers. It doesn't mean the phone number was still active. Many people would just inform callers that the previous owner is no longer using that phone number.
With regards to WhatsApp, the previous owner of the phone number has any access to the WhatsApp account you activate with your new phone number. Your conversations and other WhatsApp data are secure (see here).
While you can certainly choose to change your phone number, any new phone number would also likely have been recycled. If you do wish to change your phone number, you should be able to do so via My Account --> Usage & Services --> Mobile --> Quick Actions (near bottom of page) --> Change my number. You can view here for additional information.
Hope this helps 😀