Do You Need A Secret Phone Number?
To avoid identity theft, you may take special pains to keep your Social Security Number private. But what about your phone number? Increasingly, phone numbers are being used to invade your private space, and con you out of money. Here's how to get a second “secret" phone number for free, or at least on the cheap…
Add a Second Line to Your Mobile Phone
We all know we're supposed to keep Social Security numbers private. But your phone number can also be used to to link together data about you, collected by a myriad of entities. So you might consider hiding your real phone number, and using a second number for online purchases, and business or government contacts. Ask your phone carrier how much they would charge to give you a second phone line. If it's even a possibility, it will cost WAY more than you'd likely want to pay. But here are several ways to get a second phone number (or as many as you like) without breaking the bank.
Sideline is free for individuals. Of course, that means the user is the product; advertisers pay Sideline to make you listen to brief ads before your call goes through. Free service includes unlimited calling and texting; you never pay Sideline for calls or texts. However, Sideline uses your cellular carrier network by default, switching to available WiFi only if cellular signal is too weak. Individuals can pay $2.99/month for ad-free service. A Sideline number has its own voicemail inbox; voicemail-to-text message transcription is $2.99/month.
For $9.99/month per number, one account owner (such a business) can manage multiple ad-free Sideline numbers. “Team” numbers, as they’re called, can be integrated with Salesforce.com customer relationship management service. International calling is a 15.99/month option (“coming soon” for free accounts). Voicemail-to-text message costs $2.99/month.
Burner offers disposable phone numbers that use your cellular service, like Sideline. You may want a disposable Burner number for blind dates, or Craigslist contacts, or some other situation in which there’s a possibility you’ll want to “burn” the phone number you give to another party. A burner number can send and receive calls, text messages, and MMS (picture) messages. A user can have as many Burner numbers as desired, and “nuke” any of them at the touch of a button.
Burner offers a 7-day free trial. After that, credits must be purchased in-app to use the service. There’s a bewildering array of service options and credit prices. The Premium option gives you unlimited calls, texts, and pictures for $4.99/month.
Other "Add a Line" Options
Line 2 is a VoIP-based service; it does not consume cellular minutes, but it will use cellular data if it can’t connect to a WiFi network. For $8.30/month you get one U.S. or Canadian phone number; 5,000 calling minutes; unlimited text and picture messaging; group callling and messaging; international calling; call forwarding, screening and “more.”
Additional features for business users include simultaneous call forwarding; add/remove multiple lines; a toll-free number that supports texting; auto-attendant and dial-by-name directory; and after-hours call handling. This Pro plan costs $12.45/month per number.
CallingVault focuses on privacy and giving users control over who can make their phones ring. All call to a CallVault number go to voicemail by default. If you want the owner of a particular number to be put through to your phone, you create a contact record for that number and person and turn on call-forwarding to your phone’s real number. Any number can be blocked at any time. The “Instant Access” feature puts all callers who are not blocked and all contacts that are set to “call forward” through to your phone instead of sending them to voicemail; this enables realtors, for example, to receive calls from potential clients immediately, while sending known unwanted callers to voicemail.
CallingVault costs $39/year, which works out to $3.25/month. But then you have to add minutes and texts in increments of 250, 500, or 1000.
If you like “free” and don’t need to send or receive picture messages, Google Voice may be your best choice for a second phone number. You get a second phone number of your choice (subject to availability); voicemail-to-email transcrptions; incoming and outgoing calls and texts, but no picture messages. Call-forwarding and do-not-disturb can be enabled. Google Voice automatically blocks many known "spammy" callers, but you can also block as many unwanted incoming numbers as you like.
I use Google Voice in a slightly different way. My home landline number is forwarded to Google Voice, and incoming calls ring on both my computer and mobile phone. That ensures that I never miss a call to my home number, and I get all the benefits of voicemail transcription and call blocking.
Will you get a second (or third, or fourth) phone number to help maintain your privacy? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 12 Dec 2016
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
[HOWTO] Stopping Fake News
The Top Twenty
A New Choice for Cord Cutters: DirecTV Now
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- Do You Need A Secret Phone Number? (Posted: 12 Dec 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved