SMS texting is a popular function of temporary phone numbers. Often, people want to use these disposable numbers to receive texts online.

Today, we’ll examine why some people try to use a temporary number for receiving texts–typically, this is for a process called “verification”. Then we’ll discuss what that process entails, and what to do if your temporary number is not able to receive these texts.

Why you may want to receive texts with a temporary number:

There are lots of reasons you may want to receive a text with a temporary number. If you need a number for receiving only (and not sending) then you’re probably trying to register your number with a third-party service.

You might use a temporary number for this if you want to sign up for a service but don’t want it associated with your real phone number.

Or maybe you are trying to sign up for a service that is geo-locked to a specific region? You need a local phone number in that area code, but your real phone number doesn’t make the cut?

Or what if you don’t even have an active phone number, and you need an alternate solution? A virtual phone number could be the answer. Just choose a local number from the service of your choice to get started!

What exactly are verification codes?

You may not have heard the words “OTP code” or “verification codes”, but chances are you’ve used them before! Examples of services that use verification codes include WhatsApp, Telegram, and Tinder, plus many more. If you have an account with even one of these services, then you’re probably familiar with the sign-up process.

Verification” is what happens when you create a new account with a service online. First, they text you a unique SMS (short message service) code. You may also request a phone call to get the code from some services. Then you enter the code into their website or app, to prove that you own the phone number you’ve listed. This is a common practice for any service that requires personal information (like a phone number or email address) to activate.

Do temporary numbers really work to receive texts online?

Man hand holding iphone texting online

Some people have had success using temporary numbers for verification. Plenty of online services are happy to treat temporary numbers just the same as real cellular numbers, while some others will refuse to accept them.

In fact, some third-party services are taking steps to prevent temporary numbers from being verified at all. They may reject VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) numbers entirely. So it’s never certain that any service will allow your temporary number.

Even Hushed does not guarantee verification for any third-party services, as noted in the terms of service. Verification is entirely at the discretion of the service sending the code, not the number provider.

What if my number does not receive the text?

Temporary numbers cannot be guaranteed to receive verification code texts. This is because it’s up to the service you’re verifying to allow your number through.

If a third-party service denies verification on your temporary number, there is something you can try: try contacting the service directly and request “whitelisting.” This means that the site or app you want to verify will validate your number directly. Being whitelisted allows you to easily receive that verification code!

If they don’t allow your number to be verified and do not whitelist, then you could be out of luck. In that case, we recommend trying a different strategy, like email verification.

With all of the options for free virtual mobile numbers out there, there’s no reason not to try using one for verification. Just remember that it’s not certain to work and that the number provider has no control over the verification process.

If verification does work on your number, make sure you hang onto it for future use. If you burn the temporary number, you may not be able to get it back again.