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How to Make Your Phone Number Private

by on July 27, 2015
in Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, iPhone/iPad Apps, Tips & How-Tos, Privacy :: 14 comments

woman dialing smartphoneWhen my daughter was born, we placed an advertisement for a nanny in a local newspaper. At 6:30 a.m. on the first day the ad ran, the phone started ringing. It was the first applicant out of hundreds who would call inquiring about the position. What I would have given then for a disposable phone number — something I could turn off once I’d made my hire.

Today, there are options for keeping your phone number private. 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. New numbers are $1.99 (three 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.

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 November 11, 2015

[woman dialing smartphone via Shutterstock]

Discussion loading


No "Burner" on iApp store

From Bcap on July 28, 2014 :: 10:58 am

Found other similar, but not “Burner” as described



Click link in story

From Josh Kirschner on July 28, 2014 :: 12:15 pm

The link in the story will take you to the app on iTunes or you can find it here:



Do not know your number, you do not receive spam

From Rafel bbm on July 28, 2014 :: 9:40 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.



*67 does not always work

From Bob on July 29, 2014 :: 9:01 am

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



*67 does not work calling Ebay customer service

From MDK on November 11, 2014 :: 9:38 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.



Private number

From Mr,Demon on July 09, 2015 :: 9:04 am

call me private number.What is private number?


didnt work... it says long

From Yan Yan on July 27, 2015 :: 3:50 pm

didnt work… it says long distance



*67 does NOT block

From Bob on July 28, 2015 :: 8:37 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.



It won't work with 800 numbers

From Josh Kirschner on July 28, 2015 :: 10:50 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.




Not work in Bangladesh

From FaRabbi on September 26, 2015 :: 3:31 am

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



*67 only works when dialing

From Suzanne Kantra on November 23, 2015 :: 11:55 am

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


What is private number

From Mamadi Jammeh on November 03, 2015 :: 4:46 am

What is private number


gravatar borked?

From Gen on November 04, 2015 :: 3:19 am

The link to goes nowhere. The service died?



Yes, just checked and the

From Suzanne Kantra on November 04, 2015 :: 8:42 am

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


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