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How to Make Your Phone Number Private

by on June 30, 2016
in Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, iPhone/iPad Apps, Tips & How-Tos, Privacy :: 19 comments

How to make your phone number private

Whether you're getting quotes from car dealers, setting up an online dating account or returning a work call from your personal phone, there are times when keeping your number private makes sense. Fortunately there are options for short term "burner" numbers, virtual phone lines and caller ID blocking. Here's what I recommend.

Temporary "Burner" Numbers

Burner appFor a temporary disposable number, I like Burner (free on iTunes and Google Play). You get 20 minutes of talk time and 60 texts over a week for free and then you need to buy credits to extend service and buy new burner numbers.There's a Mini Burner ($1.99  or 3 credits) for 14 days or 20 minutes or 60 texts, whichever comes first. Or you can pay $4.99 (8 credits) for 30 days of services with unlimited texts and calls. If you want to be able to send photos, there's a Picture Burner package (8 credits or $4.99) for 100 messages (with or without photos), 50 minutes or 30 days, whichever comes first. Credits can be bought in packs of 3 ($1.99), 8 ($4.99), 15 ($7.99) and 25 ($11.99).

Free Long-Term Private Number

For a more permanent calling solution, I recommend Google Voice. You get unlimited calling within the U.S. for free as well as voicemail, call screening and do not disturb, among other features. To receive a call or text, you'll need a smartphone or computer with Internet access and the Google Voice app. Or, you can choose to forward all of your Google Voice calls and texts to an existing number. Outbound calls will show with your Google Voice number, instead of your real one.

Free Ad-hoc Outbound Caller ID Blocking

If you don’t want to use your disposable phone number minutes, you can block your outbound Caller ID by turning it off in your phone’s call "settings" on your mobile phone, setting it up in your phone management software if you use a digital phone service or dial *67 before the number on a regular landline phone or cell phone (for both you'll need to use the country code, so the it would look like *6712125551212). Your number will appear as unavailable.

[Editor's Note 7/28/15: *67 will not work when calling toll-free numbers (800, 888, etc.) and emergency services, like 911.]

While I value openness — even when it comes to Caller ID, I can see real value in protecting my privacy in a situation where I would be dealing with strangers. It’s safer and smarter.

Updated information on 6/30/2016

[woman dialing smartphone via Shutterstock]



Discussion loading

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No "Burner" on iApp store

From Bcap on July 28, 2014 :: 11:58 am

Found other similar, but not “Burner” as described

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Click link in story

From Josh Kirschner on July 28, 2014 :: 1:15 pm

The link in the story will take you to the app on iTunes or you can find it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/Burner/id505800761?mt=8

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Do not know your number, you do not receive spam

From Rafel bbm on July 28, 2014 :: 10:40 pm

This reminds me of the problems I had with my mobile number to use WhatsApp. My number was disseminated and began to receive hundreds of messages from unknown numbers. Until I moved to BBM for Android. Now I have less friends but the spam to ceased to follow me.

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*67 does not always work

From Bob on July 29, 2014 :: 10:01 am

I have called various businesses using *67 and some could identify me.

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*67 does not work calling Ebay customer service

From MDK on November 11, 2014 :: 10:38 pm

EBay’s automated system can identify your phone number even if blocked by *67, so don’t use a phone line where you wish the number to remain private from business entities.

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Private number

From Mr,Demon on July 09, 2015 :: 10:04 am

call me private number.What is private number?

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ok I vat

From harish on July 23, 2016 :: 3:11 pm

Naku kava like call

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didnt work... it says long

From Yan Yan on July 27, 2015 :: 4:50 pm

didnt work… it says long distance

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*67 does NOT block

From Bob on July 28, 2015 :: 9:37 am

Why do you give bad information? *67 does NOT always block caller ID. eBay and Allstate Insurance are 2 companies that it doesn’t work with.

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It won't work with 800 numbers

From Josh Kirschner on July 28, 2015 :: 11:50 am

Hi Bob,

Dialing *67 won’t block your caller ID when calling toll-free or emergency service numbers. We updated the story to make that clear.

Best,
Josh

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Not work in Bangladesh

From FaRabbi on September 26, 2015 :: 4:31 am

*67 code not work in Bangladesh. when i call with adding this number its say number is not correct…

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*67 only works when dialing

From Suzanne Kantra on November 23, 2015 :: 12:55 pm

*67 only works when dialing number within the United States.

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What is private number

From Mamadi Jammeh on November 03, 2015 :: 5:46 am

What is private number

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Babble.ly borked?

From Gen on November 04, 2015 :: 4:19 am

The link to Babble.ly goes nowhere. The service died?

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Yes, just checked and the

From Suzanne Kantra on November 04, 2015 :: 9:42 am

Yes, just checked and the service is dead. If you have an iOS device, check out RingMeMaybe http://www.ringmemaybe.com/. You can create 2 free numbers. Each expires after 7 days.

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9678012646

From giash uddin ahmed on December 01, 2015 :: 7:25 am

giash uddin ahmed

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It's working in India or

From kumkum kadam on July 05, 2016 :: 8:26 am

It’s working in India or not?
When I dial *67(my friend no) then automatically call end.this idea is not working for me..
Please help me about private number.

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Advice is US speciifc

From Josh Kirschner on July 05, 2016 :: 10:27 am

The advice for hiding your number from caller ID here is for the US. You should contact your phone carrier to get advice for your specific situation in India.

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I need my phone number

From Carolyn Jones on November 24, 2016 :: 7:30 pm

I need my phone number and email unknown

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