Whether you’re on the hunt for private, anonymous communication or just looking for easier, more streamlined interactions via phone and text, a temporary phone number could be the perfect solution.
From how they work and how much they cost to why you might want one (and not even realize it yet), let’s dive in to everything you could ever want to know about the world of temporary phone numbers …
What is a temporary phone number?
Temporary phone numbers work exactly like regular phone numbers. The only difference is — you guessed it — they’re usually temporary. People might hang onto their numbers for a few months, a few weeks, or even just a few days. They’re sometimes called burner numbers, disposable phone numbers, fake numbers, secondary phone numbers, or virtual phone numbers.
How much do these fake phone numbers cost?
The price depends on how you plan to use the number, and for how long.
They can be prepaid for a specified amount of time (and then extended, if the user would like more time), on a subscription basis, on a pay-as-you-go plan, or you can score special discount to own it forever*** with credits that replenish annually.
***Yes, “forever” means they’re not quite temporary phone numbers, but what can we say? Sometimes you like something so much, you just want to keep it around. (Ask anyone who ended up marrying someone they thought would just be a casual date.)
Why would I want a temporary phone number?
There are lots of reasons why people turn to temporary phone numbers to make their lives easier. Let’s run through a few of them …
It doesn’t matter how nice they seem online — they’re still a stranger, at least at first. So when they want to move the conversation off the app and over to the phone (either for texting or calling), think twice before you give them your real phone number because they can use it to unlock a lot of personal information about you. It’s much safer to use a temporary phone number for online dating (or any kind of dating).
The world’s a pretty public place these days, and sometimes you just want to fly under the radar and go back to a time when people really could communicate anonymously. Ah, the days before Caller ID (and the ability to Google a person’s phone number and learn a ton of stuff about them). A temporary phone number lets you send anonymous texts, make anonymous phone calls, and be whoever you want to be (at least behind your phone).
Running a limited-time promotion? Volunteering with an organization for a month or two? Temporary phone numbers are great for life’s temporary situations. There’s no need for a whole crowd of random new people to hang onto your real phone number (and maybe pester you in the future). Keep things chill, and temporary.
We get it — sometimes you can’t ditch your real phone number because it’s so-and-so’s emergency contact number, or your Grandma still calls it a few times a month, or it’s how your bank needs to reach you occasionally. But you can still use a temporary phone number to make a fresh start, of sorts. Use your new temporary phone number to connect with the people you really want to talk with (sorry, Grandma), and let the *real* calls go to voicemail. Boom! You’re still reachable, but on your own terms.
SELLING SOMETHING ONLINE
Leasing out your apartment? Selling a couch? Looking to re-home your exotic pet? Even when you try to keep all transaction discussions limited to email, there are always some people who insist on an old-fashioned phone call to hammer out the details, request a showing, or ask if you’ll trade your Ps4 for a stack of old CDs. (Like, who taught you to trade, friend?) We’ve all been there. So grab a temporary phone number to use the next time you’re selling something. You’ll never wonder if you should pick up an anonymous call — you’ll know right away it’s a call to that specific phone line, for that specific purpose.
SEPARATING YOUR BUSINESS FROM YOUR PERSONAL LIFE
If you give your clients your personal cell phone number, you’ll never know if that unknown caller is a client or an emergency call from your child’s school. Wouldn’t it be nice to separate your business life from your personal life? Well, it’s easy. Instead of reaching out to your carrier and getting a new phone number added to your carrier bill ($$$), you can use a low-cost temporary number from Hushed. You’ll know when your clients are calling and can answer professionally. You can also set up a separate voicemail for this number, pleasantly inviting folks to leave a message. (And you can keep your personal voicemail set to whatever you want, like “Hey, leave it at the beep.”)
RUNNING A SIDE HUSTLE
Dreaming of selling homemade cupcakes, doggy kerchiefs, custom jewelry, or, um, something less cutesy? Go for it! Starting a side hustle can be a lot of fun, and it might even become your full-time dream job someday. Many people start off using their real phone number, but then they have the problem above (no separation between your business and your personal life). And what happens when your side hustle really takes off? Your customers will already be used to calling your personal number. Use a temporary phone number from the get-go to keep things strictly professional. If you get bored of sewing miniature Christmas trees or painting cat portraits, you can easily ditch the phone number and close up shop.
SIGNING UP FOR AN ACCOUNT
It seems like everybody wants our email address and our phone number these days, but if you know they’ll never actually need to call you more than once, why give them your real phone number? Protect your real number from winding up on an annoying telemarketing list. Remember, you might hang onto your real phone number for years (or even decades), and that means you don’t want years or decades’ worth of junk cluttering up your call log or text list.
TURNING AN OLD DEVICE INTO A PHONE
We all have old phones and tablets kicking around our houses, so why not set them up with a temporary phone number and turn them into real, working phones that can make phone calls and send texts? No data required — they can run off Wi-Fi easily — and many of our customers love the ability to turn their old devices into “phones” for their kids or elderly parents.
What can I do with my temporary phone number?
We can’t speak for our competitors, but here at Hushed, there are plenty of things you can do with your brand-new temporary phone numbers …
CALLING: Temporary phone numbers from Hushed work just like any regular phone numbers. You can make calls and accept calls, and everything is completely anonymous. No monthly bills with a call log, and no connection to your regular cell phone number.
TEXTING: Just like regular texting. Send and receive funny stories, gifs, pictures, audio messages, etc. Your conversations are private, of course, and there are no records of what’s been said. You can delete your messages anytime, too.
VOICEMAIL: Record a custom greeting that’s specific to your Hushed number, and let it take messages if you can’t answer a call (or choose to let ‘er ring). This is an important feature for Hushed customers who use a temporary phone number for professional purposes, because they can customize their voicemail to their business.
CALL FORWARDING & CALL ROUTING: Forward the calls from your temporary phone number to another phone number, or make calls using minutes from your regular wireless plan instead of your Wi-Fi or data connection. This is a great option if you’re in an area with spotty Wi-Fi or data coverage.
AUTO-REPLY TO TEXT MESSAGES: You can set auto-responses for any texts that come into your Hushed phone number, with different responses for different situations.
USE MULTIPLE PHONE NUMBERS: There’s no limit on how many temporary Hushed phone numbers you can have, so go wild. Keep track of them all in your Hushed app, always know exactly which line people are calling or texting, and dispose of your temporary phone numbers whenever you want.
ACCESS THEM ON MULTIPLE DEVICES: Any mobile device can be a “phone” with Hushed. If you forget (or break) your regular phone, you can just log into Hushed on any other mobile device, and it will work exactly the same way. This is a neat way to turn your tablet or iPad into a “phone” for calling and texting.
What’s the best temporary phone number app?
When it comes to temporary phone number apps, Hushed is a fan favourite around the world, with more than 12M downloads and counting. Our customers can choose from phone numbers in more than 300 area codes. Prepaid phone numbers start at just $3.99.
How do I get a secondary phone number?
Getting a temporary number is easy. You can search by area code, or create a Hushed account and choose from available phone numbers available in your desired location.
Can I only buy numbers in my real area code?
Oh, you’re definitely not limited to phone numbers near your actual home. Where would the fun in that be? Many Hushed customers love being able to buy local numbers in other cities and countries.
If you live in New York, for example, you can buy a local phone number all the way over in London, England. Then your London friends can call your Hushed number and it’s a local call for them — just as if you were ’round the corner at the shops, even if you’re clear on another continent. It’s a fantastic way for your friends and family to avoid long-distance charges.
Can people tell if I’m using a burner number?
Nope! No one will know it’s a temporary number. A Hushed number appears on a Caller ID just like any other phone number — the area code, followed by the local seven digits. The Caller ID also won’t display your name. (You don’t even have to tell us your name because our sign-up is verification-free, so there’s no worry there.)
How do virtual phone numbers work?
Here at Hushed, our numbers all work over Wi-Fi or data connections. So you can call and text using your Hushed number anywhere you can get an internet connection. Simply open your Hushed app, and you’re good to go.
Can I use my temporary number on my iPad or tablet?
Absolutely! Log into Hushed on any mobile device, and you’ll have full access to calling and texting. This is a great way to turn an iPad or tablet into a “phone.”
Are temporary numbers good for working from home?
Temporary phone numbers are excellent for WFH careers. Remember when the pandemic started and most people were booted out of their offices to work from home? Well, the majority of people had to then give our their real phone number to every colleague, client, contractor, and supplier they needed to speak with, simply because they no longer had access to their office line. That’s why many people turned to Hushed instead, so they could use a secondary phone number for work calls, and keep their real phone number private.
Why is it dangerous to give out my real phone number?
Honestly, we could host a whole Ted Talk on this. Giving out your real phone number can be incredibly dangerous, and we want to shout it from the rooftops until everyone understands the implications.
With just a quick search of your real phone number, a stranger might gain access to the following (very, very private) information:
- Your full name
- Your date of birth
- Current and past addresses
- Names of your family members
- Where you work
- Where you go to school (past or present)
- Your social media accounts
- Your financial info
- Your criminal record
What can they do with that private information once they have it? Well, they can contact your carrier (pretending to be you) and reroute your calls. They can intercept your two-factor authentication texts to gain access to email accounts, bank accounts, etc. They can spoof your number to make calls that appear to be coming from you (and gain additional information from friends and family members). They can send you “smishing” texts that infect your phone with malware. And they can text you pretending to be someone you trust, and trick you into revealing even more personal information.
This is why we’re always advocating to #ProtectYourPrivacy and hang onto your personal phone number. Keep it reserved for the people you trust, and use temporary phone numbers for the situations where you don’t need to give out the real thing.
Why should I use a temporary phone number for online dating?
We strongly recommend that when you’re interacting with someone new (whether you’ve met them online, in a bar, at the library, etc.), you protect your privacy by not giving them your real phone number. They might be a great person, but you won’t know that right away — so why hand them the “keys” to unlock private details about your life? It’s much safer to just call or text them on a temporary phone number, at least until you get to know them really well.
Can I get a phone number for another country?
Absolutely! We currently offer temporary phone numbers for the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, with more than 300+ different area codes to choose from. No need to live in the country where you’d like a temporary phone number. In fact, many Hushed customers living outside of the U.S. enjoy getting a virtual U.S. phone number with Hushed for easy communication with friends and family.
What happens when my number expires?
Once your temporary phone number expires, it could potentially be snapped up by another customer. But don’t worry — we warn you when your number is getting close to expiring, in case you want to hang onto it a little longer.
Can I keep my temporary phone number permanently?
Heck yes, you sure can. Many Hushed customers start off thinking they’ll just hang onto their temporary phone number for a few weeks, but then it grows on them. They love the ability to call and text separately from their *real* phone number (and the private communication that provides), and they decide to keep it so they can use it on a regular basis. In fact, sometimes they love it so much, they add another number (or two). #HushedFansForLife
If you have any other questions about using a temporary phone number, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help.
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