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3 Ways to Make Private Phone Calls

by on September 06, 2022
in Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, iPhone/iPad Apps, Tips & How-Tos, Privacy :: 44 comments

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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 phone number private makes sense. Fortunately, there are options for short term anonymous "burner" numbers, virtual phone lines and caller ID blocking. Here's what I recommend.

1. Use a Temporary "Burner" Number

Burner app two screenshots: on the left, you see a screen showing the Burner number settings that include the number, type of subscription with time and texts left, and number settings, including Rings, Notifications, and Voicemail Greeting. The screenshot on the right shows a text conversation with a photo and the pulldown menu with the options to: mute, block, view contact, or delete conversation.

I like Burner (available for iOS and Android) for a temporary disposable number. Using Burner is almost like making and receiving regular calls. When you make a call using the Burner app on your phone, the app calls your Burner number and then adds the number you're calling. It happens almost instantaneously, so you won't notice unless you look at your screen. The person you're calling sees your Burner number. When calls come in, the caller ID can show the caller's number or your Burner number, and you'll be prompted to accept the call before you're connected to your caller. You can turn on and off the ringer and set up a custom greeting for callers for each Burner number. By default, Burner uses Nomorobo to reduce spam calls.

The price options are different for Android and iPhone users. Android users can get a free trial for seven days and then pay $4.99 monthly for a single line with unlimited calls and texts. iPhone users don't get a free trial. Instead, they can opt for a $4.99 pre-paid month of service that includes 100 texts and 50 minutes of calls and then automatically "burns" your number, or they have to pay $14.99 per month (or $139.99 per year) for up to three lines of unlimited calls and texts. Subscriptions are handled through Google Play or the App Store, and you can cancel anytime.

2. Use a 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. You'll need a smartphone or computer with Internet access and the Google Voice app (free for iOS and Android) to receive a call or text. Or, you can forward all your Google Voice calls and texts to an existing number. Outbound calls made with the Google Voice app will show your Google Voice number instead of your actual number.

3. Block Your Outbound Caller ID

If you don’t want to use a disposable phone number, you can block your outbound Caller ID for a single call by dialing *67 before the number (you'll need to use the country code, so it would look like *6712125551212). Your number will appear as unavailable.

You can also block your number permanently on your phone. For Android phones, open your Phone app, tap the Menu icon (triple dots), select Settings > [Calls] > Supplementary Services > Show your caller ID and choose "Never." For iPhones, go to Settings > Phone > Show My Caller ID and toggle it off. If you have a VOIP line, you can turn off the outbound caller ID in your phone management software.

You may not want to block your caller ID because some people choose to set up their phones to automatically block incoming private numbers or choose not to answer calls when the caller is listed as "Private" or "Unavailable."

[Editor's Note: *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 Burner pricing and package information and added instructions on blocking outbound caller ID on 9/7/2022

[Image credit: screenshots via Techlicious, woman checking phone via BigStockPhoto]

For the past 20+ years, Techlicious founder Suzanne Kantra has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Prior to Techlicious, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the Senior Technology Editor for Popular Science. Suzanne has been featured on CNN, CBS, and NBC.

Discussion loading

No "Burner" on iApp store

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

Found other similar, but not “Burner” as described


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:


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.


*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.


Most business have digital phone lines

From Dirk on June 26, 2020 :: 12:28 pm

Blocking your number through your service using *67 or similar methods does not work against a phone system that receives and processes calls digitally even with a regular non-toll free number. In other words, the recipient receives the calling number data directly without going through a terminating carrier (AT&T, Verizon, Qwest, etc.)  Therefore, since there is no terminating carrier the FCC rule requiring the terminating carrier to act in accordance with the privacy indicator (which signals to terminating carrier to block passage of the number to the subscriber) is irrelevant and the caller’s number is fair game.


*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.


Private number

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

call me private number.What is private number?


Private number

From nagendra verma on January 30, 2017 :: 4:12 am

Private number



From Bjagyalakshmi on May 27, 2019 :: 1:34 pm

Hai sir how to change mobile number privet number plzzzzzz reply me


didnt work... it says long

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

didnt work… it says long distance


Same problem

From Manikantamk Mk on October 01, 2020 :: 4:05 am

Same problem


*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.


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.



How are people able to

From Rino on December 08, 2020 :: 3:27 pm

How are people able to make outgoing telephone calls to any and all telephone numbers and systems without any of their personal contact information (such as telephone number) being disclosed to the recipient?  That is the fundamental question which needs to be addressed and which this article does not do justice in addressing it.  Research, and when you discover the answer to this question, write and post an article which actually answers the question.  The article which you have written is useless and a complete waste of my time reading it.


Yet, you took more time to comment?

From Josh Kirschner on December 08, 2020 :: 6:07 pm

This is an article on “3 Ways to Make Private Calls”. It’s not an article on “Why are people allowed to make private calls?”, which is why that issue wasn’t addressed, though Suzanne identified a few perfectly valid reasons for why people may want to make private calls. FWIW, we have approximately 6,000 other articles on the site which also don’t address the specific issue you’re concerned about. It concerns me to know that that all 6,000 of those articles are likely useless, too, and we’ve spent the last eleven years wasting your time.

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…


*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.


What is private number

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

What is private number


Private numbers

From Traci on May 28, 2018 :: 4:02 pm

Examples of private numbers are people’s landlines and their mobile numbers (residences).  Not businesses.  I.E.  Your neighbor or Parents

Reply borked?

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

The link to goes nowhere. The service died?


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 You can create 2 free numbers. Each expires after 7 days.



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

giash uddin ahmed


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.


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.


I need my phone number

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

I need my phone number and email unknown


Some countres #31# before number dialed works as unindentified.

From lukka on December 11, 2016 :: 9:18 am

please try that or search in your country list of shortcodes, what number will block identification. cheers.


number to be private

From frank ntambo on December 29, 2016 :: 9:31 am

I what this number to be come private 0977 700138



From Muhammad Iqbal on April 14, 2017 :: 6:29 am

Love this message


India tips ...

From KG on June 20, 2017 :: 11:31 pm

I do following in India

Use my 3G data card number when registering at a website. It can only receive incoming texts so I can use that to authenticate (for OTP). Incoming calls are barred by plan. So people trying to call in would give up on first try.

Install truecaller and update your contact details. I have set my name as “private number”. Many people use truecaller now here and its really popular. Unless that person has my number saved, he/she sees it identified as “private number”.


Not *67 work in bihar

From Vikash kumar on October 07, 2017 :: 6:58 am

Sir, i have to call in bihar then say this number not valid plz provide me resolution


Nothing works

From CVan on October 24, 2017 :: 10:12 am

I want my phone to show “unknown” or “private” when I make calls, but the settings you specify that I need to change in CallerID do not exist on my LG Stylus phone.

*67 always results in “this is not a working number, please hang up and dial a working number”.

So… do I get this phone to show “unknown” or “private”??????


Burner used to work

From Kim L. on November 15, 2017 :: 2:18 pm

I have had issues to. I also tried ghostcall, hush, and roboshout with some success. My favorite is ghostcall if I wanna use my voice.
If I wanna use a robot voice then I use



From Roland on November 15, 2017 :: 3:55 pm

How can i have identification restrictions on my phone.But the network I use is Vodafone.


re: Roland

From Kim L on November 15, 2017 :: 11:31 pm

Ah have you tried switching ypur SIM card? Ok


Not in Europe

From Shaz. M on May 09, 2018 :: 4:14 am

Sadly All you get is this is Not a valid number, Please redial correctly or contact the operator who will assist you


Caller I'd block

From Soumya on June 17, 2018 :: 11:22 am

How to Make Private Phone Calls from my Panasonic p55 novo


what a horrible thing to do

From conscience on August 16, 2018 :: 6:14 pm

misleading people for any reason is a horrible thing to do, especially if some innocent person’s phone number is being used. Violation of that person’s privacy. too bad these smart people can’t use their knowledge to actually benefit the human race rather than add to the already fucked up things that we can do to harm each other


Hw to create a private

From Sadula Sandeep on November 13, 2018 :: 9:46 am

Hw to create a private number instead of showing the my number to any one in india


Different toll free numbers coming to husband phone

From Renee j on November 15, 2018 :: 7:50 am

I have been monitoring our phone bill bc my husband had some reg. Numbers from a women.

After I brought it to his attention, funny names came up to old numbers I was tracking. I also notice 2 or 3 toll free numbers calling frequently. When I tried to verify the toll numbers I received 0 information on these numbers.
I was wondering can ppl buy the toll numbers to communicate without getting regular number tracked.

Yes hes cheating @


Reversing the Trick

From Curious George on July 05, 2019 :: 1:33 pm

So I thought it would be funny to try this on my mom and sister and see them freak out as some random person keeps calling them (and believe me, it was hilarious), however now my number is stuck as an unknown number for them and I don’t know how to reverse it. Any ideas? Please I need to find a way to reverse it. Thanks!!


Did you didn't make your number private in your phone settings?

From Josh Kirschner on July 10, 2019 :: 11:06 am

There is a phone setting to make your number private. Are you sure you didn’t turn this on and forget to reverse it? You can learn more in our article on How to Block Your Phone Number.


private number?

From masterredfox on February 24, 2020 :: 4:53 pm

With the spammer using Vox calling and public companies not identifying themselves, I want my carrier t to differentiate between real callers and fake callers. No one wants to identify themselves anymore, so my reaction to this article is this if you want me to answer or call you back identify yourself by name and use correct connections. If not, I will be blocking every single unknown number I receive, even if you leave me a voicemail to call another unknown number.


Not working in India

From Agent Roy on April 13, 2020 :: 6:00 am

*67 is not working in India.Tell me another number to make calls privately in India.


It is best app

From Arsad on November 29, 2020 :: 6:39 am

It is best app


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