Decades ago, people changed their phone numbers all the time—if you had to move to a new town, you didn't get to keep your number. Now, you can take your first cell phone number with you for life, even keeping the area code on a new continent if you're willing to pay for it. That has downsides. Having another number associated with you for life, much like your Social Security number or driver's license number, means it's another easy thing for bad actors and Big Brother to use for tracking you. Especially since your mobile phone number is likely associated with just about every digital account you have.
The way to get around that is to never hand out your personal phone number, except to friends and family. There are a lot of good reasons for this. Perhaps you buy or sell items on Facebook Marketplace, manage an Airbnb listing, are hunting for a job, have a career that requires lots of phone calls, or you're online dating. Give all of them a burner number.
Typically, a burner is a no-contract, prepaid mobile phone, usually an ultra-cheap handset you buy in a store (with cash, for privacy), activate with a call or online, use for a while, then discard. The throwing away is the "burning" part, but tossing the phone/number is optional, as the owner can "top off" the minutes on a prepaid phone and keep using it. With a burner, you don't have to block a person (or stalker, shady marketer, or robo-caller) from your permanent phone. Nor do you need to get a new number. But the option is there, while your original phone number is intact.
For a second number, you can always get a prepaid SIM card on a cheap carrier if you want to go that route. It might even be handy if you have an extra phone around. Many new unlocked phones support eSIM standards where the SIM card that identifies you with the carrier is fully integrated and only changeable via remote software. But eSIM isn't much of an option for a burner-style number. And swapping physical SIM cards to change phone numbers is a pain, at best.
You probably already have a iPhone or Android smartphone that can't handle two numbers, so you don't want another handset. Thankfully, there are still many ways to get an extra, (possibly) temporary phone number that works with your smartphone (or even on your tablet). The numbers can even be used to send and receive texts with photos.
This isn't like using *67 or #31# before a call, which shows you as Blocked or Unknown. The services below make a point of displaying a temporary number when you call, so return calls can happen—until you want them to stop. If you just want the numbers to take calls, all the burner services feature things like voicemail and call forwarding.
There are some drawbacks to these burner apps and services. The biggest is that you typically can't use them to call 911 for help. Some build that limit into their terms of service—they don't want to get sued. Second, the companies behind some of these solutions have a very limited number of phone numbers to use. Researchfrom 2014 foundthat some companies recycle numbers quickly, meaning you could be on the receiving end of calls from people trying to reach someone who previously had your number.
If you can overlook all that and still need a secondary number, get ready to access some apps and services that will maintain your privacy by becoming the number you hand out when you aren't sure who to trust.
- 7-day trial with 20 minutes of talk and 60 texts.
- Prepaid Burner numbers: $1.99 for 50 minutes of talk and 100 texts lasts 30 days, or extend with credits.
- Unlimited texts, talk, and pictures: $4.99 per month or $47.88 per year.
BurnerBurner grabbed the best name for this kind of product. Limited to US and Canadian numbers, the service offers limited-time access to certain digits. If your account or free trial lapses without an upgrade, so does the number. A premium subscription option provides up to three phone numbers with unlimited minutes and texts.
(It’s best to register a Burner subscription on the web rather than the mobile apps, so Apple or Google don't become part of the transaction. Don't pay the Apple Tax.) It promises to be 100% ad-free, blocks spammers, and also supports picture messages.
When you make a call via Burner, it’s actually your smartphone calling Burner, which in turn places a relay call to the number you want to reach (so it is indeed eating into your talk plan minutes). The steps are spelled out as you go, so you're not confused. A PIN lock keeps the app secure; it integrates with fingerprint or face scanners on your smartphone.
- 3-day trial
- $1.99 for seven days prepaid, or $3.99 per month with unlimited calls/texts, with pay-as-you-go international plans starting at $4.99.
- Lifetime second number is currently on sale for $25 in US, UK, or Canada.
HushedHushed (available for iOS and Android) is a lot like Burner, but available in over 40 countries, and with a simplicity that makes it worth considering. Don't worry about the minutes left on your actual mobile phone contract, Hushed usesVoIP, so calls are made over Wi-Fi (or using your cellular data). No minutes on your phone voice plan get used (unless you set up something like Call Forwarding or Call Routing). Subscribers can get up to three lines bundled. Text communications between Hushed app users are all free, and auto-delete after being read.
- 7-day free trial
- $7.99 per month (or $79.99 per year) for each new phone number (up to five).
Want multiple numbers across multiple area codes? You can get up to five with different "locations" with FlypFlyp for iOS and Android. Each number has unlimited calling, texting, picture messaging, and voicemail. It's expensive but simple. One of the interesting extras is the ability to create a whitelist of who can contact each number.
The main purpose ofGoogle VoiceGoogle Voiceis to provide call routing using a single phone number, entirely free, that rings on all your numbers. That way, if an important call comes in, it can reach your cell, your home number, your office number, and others all at once—you pick up the one you want. (This is less and less an issue in the one-phone-per-person mobile world, but hey, at least you have a permanent second number that costs nothing.)
The Google Voice app also features a dialer so you can call or text out—the recipient will see your Google Voice number for caller ID and if they return the call, you'll receive it at the preset numbers (or get a voicemail with full-text transcription). It's entirely VoIP, so it can use Wi-Fi or your phone data plan, and it works via apps on iOS and Android or even on the web. If you have a personal Google account, you've already got a Google Voice account. So go get a number.
- Starter plan is $15.99 per month ($164.99 annually)
Line2Line2 is a second line for your phone, with an emphasis by the company (which is owned by Ziff Davis, PCMag's parent company) on being a full-on, cloud-based business phone service for small teams. Each Line2 account has unlimited SMS and MMS messaging and virtual calling. Upgrade to get up to 99 extensions with each phone number. You can use the apps for iOS or Android, or try Line2 on your desktop with a web-based app.
- Free for calls over Wi-Fi or data plan in the US and Canada; also free between Dingtone numbers
- 500 credits is $9.99; cost for international call from US is 0.9 credits per minute
Dingtone promises free calls and unlimited texts to everyone, over Wi-Fi or your data plan, as long as you're only making calls in and to the US and Canada. You don't have to pay to reserve a number. Multiple numbers are allowed, and there are business features like voicemail, call forwarding, blocking, etc. If you want to call outside the country, you'll have to pay for some credits. Rates are different per country. The more you use or check in with Dingtone, the more credits you earn, so maybe you won't have to pay for them. The app is available for iOS or Android.
- Basic use is free with ads
- Pay $15.99 per month to go ad-free and get 2GB storage
With TextNowTextNow, you sign up for free to get a second phone number in your area code (or another), plus free calling and texting via the iOS and Android apps, as long as your device is on Wi-Fi. It also works on the desktop.
If you need to be more mobile, TextNow is also an MVNO. It has a $0.99 activation kit that gets you a SIM card for unlimited talk and text anywhere (using T-Mobile's network) for free, with data add-ons. It offers international use in 230 countries.
- $9.99 per month unlimited
- $69.99 per year unlimited
Available in apps for iOS and Android, plus as a web-based app in your browser, Phoner from Appsverse offers all you'd expect: private numbers, ability to hide/mask your caller ID, voicemail, call forwarding, reverse number lookup, and of course texting and calls. You can get started immediately when you grab a new, randomized number, though you can try to get a local number in about 30 countries, including the US. The app also makes it possible to record calls and send PDFs as a fax. The pricing on the site and the app stores is confusing, but the company tells PCMag it is switching to the above-mentioned unlimited monthly and yearly plans.
- 7-day free trial
- $7.99 per month up to $99.99 per year
CoverMeCoverMe is best known as an app (for Android; the iOS version disappeared in early 2022) for providing secure or private communications over VoIP between users, both voice and text. It also offers extra phone numbers for US and Canadian users, which can be used to make and receive encrypted voice calls. It works over Wi-Fi or cellular data connections.
The app also features a vault for holding images and documents you don't otherwise want showing on your smartphone, which you protect with a PIN code.
The most basic mini-private call plan is $7.99 per month, but things like the vault cost extra. A truly unlimited package with texts and 3,000 voice minutes is $99.99 per year.
A Mashable notes, adding a second number may only be a bandage on a bigger problem if you've associated your main phone number with a bunch of accounts, from food orders to banking. The number could even be one of the ways you're expected to authenticate, or update credentials. But sometimes a bandage can start the healing, so put your burner number to good use.
- Enter some basic details like pin code and mobile number.
- Enter your favorite preferred number.
- Now choose your mobile number from a range of free or premium mobile numbers.
- Get the OTP to complete your order and buy the VIP number of your choice with a new postpaid connection.
Unwanted texts, phone calls, and general harassment. A secret phone number can cover you if you go on dates, have an online business, or if you just want to sell a few things on eBay or craigslist. Dating can also be dicey. You may not want someone to have an all-access pass to your device.Can I create my own phone number? ›
Registering a custom phone number, also referred to as a vanity number, is easy as long as the number you want is available. Businesses frequently use custom phone numbers because they want a catchy number that is easy for potential customers to remember and dial.What is the rarest phone number? ›
"The world's most expensive phone number was auctioned for charity yesterday in Qatar. The number, 666 6666, sold for 10m Qatari riyals or £1.5m," says The Register. "The previous record holder was Chinese number 8888 8888, which sold for £270,000.Is there an app that lets you choose your own number? ›
Get the most out of the Talkatone Free Calling App.
The calling app that let's you choose your own free U.S. phone number. Make and receive free texts and calls to most U.S. phone numbers, including landlines.
A ghost call or phantom call is a telephone call for which, when the recipient of the call answers, there is no one on the other end of the call. The term is also used in managing IP PBX systems.What is the code for hidden number? ›
Use *67 to hide your phone number
This trick works for smartphones and landlines. Open your phone's keypad and dial * – 6 – 7, followed by the number you're trying to call.
Feature Access Codes (FAC) (also known as Star (*) Codes) are a convenient means for turning voice features on and off. With FAC codes, you can activate or deactivate features like Call Forwarding Always, Call Forwarding Busy, Call Forwarding No Answer, Do Not Disturb, Last Number Redial, and more.What is the secret behind number 9? ›
You can verify this for the product of nine multiplied by any other single-digit number by using this multiplication table: 2 9 = 18; 1 + 8 = 9 3 9 = 27; 2 + 7 = 9 4 9 = 36; 3 + 6 = 9 5 9 = 45; 4 + 5 = 9 6 9 = 54; 5 + 4 = 9 7 9 = 63; 6 + 3 = 9 8 9 = 72; 7 + 2 = 9 9 9 = 81; 8 + 1 = 9 If you think single-digit numbers ...What does putting 141 in front of a number do? ›
Withholding your telephone number means that it won't be available to the person you're calling. You can ask us to permanently withhold your number, or you can choose to withhold it yourself on a call-by-call basis. To withhold your number on individual calls, just dial 141 before the telephone number you want to call.
You can, and it is! It's very easy to do using Hushed. Hushed is the best option for getting a fake phone number quickly and easily. Hushed does not even require any verification information, so you don't input your real phone number at any time.How do I get a Google number? ›
- Go to voice.google.com.
- Sign in to your Google Account.
- You can search for available numbers by city or area code. ...
- Next to the number you want, click Select.
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
- Select a number. Select a “Free for website” number in a country of choice in Sonetel sign up.
- Sign up. Sign up for a free account.
- Add free chat to your website.
Add up to four phone numbers with unlimited calling and texting to your smartphone and eliminate the hassle of carrying multiple devices. My Numbers is compatible with all 4G iOS and Android smartphones. Verizon My Numbers – multiple phone numbers. One phone.What cellphone number is +1? ›
“1,” of course, is the country code for the United States.Why is 555 not a real phone number? ›
When movies and TV shows began using phone numbers more frequently in their plot lines, people who actually owned those numbers started to complain that they were getting too many prank phone calls. So the phone companies reserved 555-0100 through to 555-0199 for fictional use.Are 900 numbers still a thing? ›
They were a way of transmitting information for money in a pre-Internet world for things like jokes, music, games, and fan club information. Sadly, after testing them out, these numbers are no longer in service.What apps are disguised? ›
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. This Vertical Service Code, *82, enables calling line identification regardless of subscriber preference, dialed to unblock withheld numbers (private callers) in the U.S. on a per-call basis.Does * 68 hide your phone number? ›
Yes, dialing *68 or *82 before the number will show your Caller ID information for a single call even if the Show My Caller ID toggle is set to Off. Can I still do a per-call option to hide my Caller ID information?
You have the option to block Caller ID either temporarily or permanently. To block your number from being displayed temporarily for a specific call: Enter *67.Does * 69 work on cell phones? ›
Yes, it would definitely work without satellites. Because cell phones do not use them for making a call.What does *# 9090 do? ›
*#9090# – Diagnostic configuration. *2767*3855# – Format device to factory state (will delete everything on phone)What does * 77 do on your phone? ›
Anonymous Call Rejection (*77) stops calls from people that use a blocking feature to keep their name or number from being displayed. When Anonymous Call Rejection is turned on, callers will hear a message telling them to hang up, turn off the blocking feature, and call again.What is * 73 on your phone? ›
Call forwarding is disabled by dialing *73. This feature requires a subscription from the telephone company. Also available in some areas is Remote Access to call forwarding, which permit the control over call forwarding from telephones other than the subscriber's telephone.What does 333 mean? ›
What Does Angel Number 333 Mean? The angel number 333 holds powerful significance. This number is associated with femininity, creativity, and intuition. When you come across this angel number, think of it as a friendly love note to stop worrying so much.What does 999 mean? ›
In numerology, the number 9 represents the ending of a cycle. Seeing this repeating number is one of the most spiritual messages you can come across because 9 represents enlightenment, lessons of self, and wisdom. If you keep seeing 999, this is a time to be focused on yourself and your healing.What are the angel numbers? ›
Angel numbers are repeating number sequences, often used as a guide for deeper spiritual exploration. These sequences can range from 000 to 999, and each has its own distinct meaning and energy.What does P before a phone number mean? ›
P# allows international numbers with or without the + prefix. If you omit + and are dialing internationally, you need to include the proper International Dialing Prefix for your calling region, for example, 011 for the United States.Does 1471 still work? ›
1471 is always active and useful even if you have an answering machine. Dialling 1471 without using Call Return is free.
How much does no called ID cost? Dialling 1471 – free (many Virgin Media home phone features are). Redialling your Last Caller – 16.34p connection charge, plus standard landline call costs.Are fake phone numbers illegal? ›
When is spoofing illegal? Under the Truth in Caller ID Act, FCC rules prohibit anyone from transmitting misleading or inaccurate caller ID information with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongly obtain anything of value. Anyone who is illegally spoofing can face penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation.What is the most called phone number? ›
The number (201) 867-5309, featured in the hit 1981 Tommy Tutone song "867-5309/Jenny," is being sold on e-Bay by a New Jersey DJ who bought the number in 2004. Spencer Potter, 28, told the New York Times that he thought owning the number would boost his music business.What is a burnt phone? ›
burn phone (plural burn phones) (informal) A cell phone bought anonymously with cash, used for only a short time and then thrown away, usually used as a means of conducting illegal business or harassment without being traceable to the purchaser.Can two cell phones receive the same incoming call? ›
What is simultaneous ring and how does it work? Simultaneous ring is a function where a single incoming call can reach multiple devices at the same time and ring several devices simultaneously. These devices can vary, from PBX or desk phones to mobile phones and even computers (thanks to VoIP technology).Does Google Voice cost money? ›
Google Voice is a free service that lets you merge multiple phone numbers into a single number that you can call or text from. You can set up a Google Voice account on either your computer or mobile device, and immediately begin placing domestic and international calls, or sending texts.What is a 1 followed by 100 zeros? ›
A googol is 10 to the 100th power, which is 1 followed by 100 zeros. While this is an unimaginably large number, there's still an infinite quantity of larger numbers.Can a virtual number be traced? ›
Anyone who is claiming here that VoIP can't be traced they are completely wrong. Any calling service that links to the official cellular network must have a way to be traced or authorities won't allow it's protocols to be linked with the official celluar network.How do I get a free WhatsApp number? ›
The easiest way to get a free phone number for WhatsApp is by downloading a virtual number. Along with a second phone number, this also gives you several enhanced features associated with top virtual numbers. While comparing free and paid phone numbers, it's always a good idea to look at the value you get.Is there a free second phone number app? ›
Textfree. Textfree adds a second line to your Android or iPhone for free. After installing the app, you can get a second number that delivers unlimited texting for free and 60 minutes of voice calls per month.
Hushed is the best private phone number app for any occasion! When you need a different number to call and text with, Hushed lets you get local numbers from more than 300 areas codes in the US, Canada, and UK. You can use Hushed for private calls and texts.Can you get a free Google phone number? ›
The Google Voice service gives you a free phone number to use for phone calls, text messages, and voicemail on your mobile phone or your computer.What is a unique phone number? ›
The mobile identification number (MIN) or mobile subscription identification number (MSIN) refers to the 10-digit unique number that a wireless carrier uses to identify a mobile phone, which is the last part of the international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI).How do I get a phantom phone number? ›
The best option to get a second phone number
To get a second phone number, simply download the OpenPhone app to your phone, then start messaging and placing calls. With OpenPhone, it's easy to get a second phone number for business. OpenPhone lets you keep your personal number private.
Regardless, the good news for you is that what you are thinking is very much possible. To get a specific cell phone number for yourself, you would need to either contact your chosen provider and they can help you with it or you can purchase a special number from many services online.What app gives you a different phone number? ›
2Number makes it possible to have different phone lines for your personal and business needs without an extra SIM, as well as call and text internationally. The app allows you to choose a custom phone number and make phone calls without displaying your real number.What are phone secret codes? ›
- *2767*3855# (Wipe Your Device and Reinstall Firmware) ...
- *#*#7780#*#* (Run a Factory Reset) ...
- *#06# (Check the Device's IMEI) ...
- *#0*# (Activate General Test Mode) ...
- *#*#232338#*#* (Displays the MAC Address) ...
- *#*#4986*2650468#*#* (Important Firmware Info)
You will have to dial *67 each time you want your number blocked. If you own an iPhone or Android device, automatically block your number by adjusting one simple setting.How can I get someone's phone number completely for free? ›
Whitepages. Want to know how to find someone's phone number for free? Whitepages is the digital equivalent of looking someone up in the phonebook. Just like AnyWho, Whitepages is very simple to use, and it only requires someone's name and location to find a phone number.What is the easiest way to get someone's phone number? ›
You can also try other ways like caller ID apps such as Truecaller to find a phone number. With Truecaller, you can find mobile numbers, phone numbers, and other contact information for people or businesses, with features like phone number lookup and name search.
- Google Voice.
Just enter a person's name and a city, state, or zip code in the standard web search box. You can also enter a phone number to find the person's name and address. Then hit the ENTER key or click the Search button.How do I ask for a Strangers phone number? ›
Asking for the Number
Approach the person, start a conversation, and make a comment along the lines of “you know, I've really enjoyed talking to you. Do you think I could have your phone number and we could do it again sometime?” If you are asking a stranger, don't worry about having a lengthy conversation.
The simplest way to get two phone numbers on one phone is by signing up for a VoIP phone service. This allows you to gain access to a VoIP phone number, which you can use to make and receive calls using an app on your mobile phone and computer.Can you link 2 phone numbers to the same phone? ›
Yes, you can have two numbers on one SIM card and one cellular device. Some devices, however, do not support two numbers on one SIM because they lack the capability. So, instead of getting a compatible handset, you can contact Community Phone's customer service to link two numbers together on one phone/SIM.Is there a texting app that uses a different number? ›
Trusted by millions of users, TextMe is the market-leading provider of private custom phone numbers in the US & Canada. With TextMe your calls & texts to any number in the US & Canada are totally free!