There are tons of situations that require you to give out your phone number, and I think just about everyone has regretted doing so at some point. It can be incredibly convenient to have a secondary or temporary number on hand, so if you don't want to provide your real digits, you can still get the call without revealing your true numbers. And that's where Burner comes in.
Burner is a mobile app for iPhone and Android that lets you create alias phone numbers that you can take out of service anytime, i.e. "burn" them. You choose the area code and name associated with the number, and the only piece of information it requires from you to sign up is your real phone number, so it can redirect calls and messages to you.
Once you're finished with the number, you can burn it, deleting it from your phone and the company's servers. They do retain backup records, so it's still possible for the number to be associated with you. But the only way for anyone to get their hands on it is if law enforcement subpoenas the company.
The app is free to download from the iOS App Store and on Google Play, which includes one temporary number (good for 7 days) and credits for 15 minutes of talk time and 15 texts. And you can buy as many additional numbers and credits as you want. It's not perfect or 100% untraceable, but if you aren't using it for anything shady or running for your life, it can be a great tool to have. Just think: you'll never have to give out your real number on a Craigslist ad again!
Of course, you can always use Google Voice for free if you don't want to spend the money on Burner. The biggest difference is that it takes a lot more time and information to set up, and as with all Google products, privacy is much more of a concern because Google stores everything you do indefinitely. But again, as long as you aren't doing anything top secret, it can be good to have as a backup number.
Would you use Burner? Let us know how you use temporary numbers in the comments.
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