Why Do You Need a Secret Phone Number? And How to Get One
We are super reliant on our phones. We don’t just need them for catching up with friends or business calls. Some people run their entire lives from their phones. Mobile devices have become as important to our lives as computers. And yet, we don’t realize all the ways someone having our phone number can put us at risk. We give it out all the time.
As you read this, there can be countless phone banks Robo-dialing your number to try and get you to sign up for a scam. Hackers could be adding you to their list because your email address and phone number were part of a breach. Websites and social media have your phone number and personal information on display in ways you may not realize. And people can be looking for ways to use your phone number to sneak into your accounts, steal your money, or even hijack your life.
The solution is a secret phone number. We have multiple emails to help protect our privacy and sanity. A second secret phone number just might be vital to your cybersecurity. Think it’s excessive? There are several reasons you may need a secret phone number.
Why Do You Need a Secret Phone Number?
We can be so busy using our phones that we forget how important and how valuable our phone and specifically our phone number can be. We all know apps track your habits and information while you’re absentmindedly playing games or even when your phone is idle. But a lot of damage can be done if someone has access to your phone number.
Picture it…tomorrow you lose your phone. Imagine all the trouble you’d get into if you had to get a new number. Your phone number can be your recovery option for passwords, not to mention the only way people know how to reach you.
Now think about all the horrible things that might happen if someone stole your phone. They could access your bank account, switch your passwords, max out mobile payment apps like Venmo, Paypal, or Cashapp. They could potentially access cryptocurrency accounts.
It’s not just phone theft you have to worry about. SIM-swapping is on the rise. Scammers impersonate you to your phone company and swap out the SIM card to a device they control. Once they have your number they can wreak havoc by changing passwords and accessing accounts.
Here’s a refresher list of what someone can do with access to your phone number:
1. Password Recovery
A scammer could change your email password or worse, some more prominent accounts that are tied to your credit card. If you had a secret number that’s both unlisted and not in use you could use this for passwords.
2. Two-Factor Authentication
Without access to your phone number, you’d have trouble authenticating a lot of your accounts. It could be worth having a separate phone number to manage.
3. Your Money
Your banks, credit card companies, mobile payment apps, and crypto-wallets can all be tied to your phone number. They can also potentially be recovered with a phone call or text confirmation. If you had a secret phone number you could protect this.
Have you ever given your phone number to someone and instantly regretted it? Unwanted texts, phone calls, and general harassment. A secret phone number can cover you if you go on dates, have an online business, or if you just want to sell a few things on eBay or craigslist.
Dating can also be dicey. You may not want someone to have an all-access pass to your device. The popular Netflix series You showed just how enterprising a stalker can be. The lead character met a girl he liked and got access to her phone. He was able to see her text messages and e-mails and follow her around. Yikes!
5. Protect your Contacts
Imagine the damage someone could do texting your friends, family, or business contacts. Another benefit of having a second phone number is just like having a second email — you keep your contacts free.
How to Use a Secret Phone Number?
There are two different ways you can use a secret phone number. Mashable suggests using a secret phone number the way you use a junk or anonymous email address. The logic is that if you use it when you sign up for lists and someone tries to track your phone number it’s tied to an anonymous source.
An alternate use for a secret phone number would be to use it to protect your accounts. If your publicly listed number is tied to your accounts then hackers and snoops know what number you use for password recovery, two-factor authentication, and financial accounts. You may want to separate these the way you’d have a professional and personal email address.
How to Get a Secret Phone Number?
A Second Line
The simplest way and the least secret way is to get a second line on your phone account. This will not be secret as it is still tied to your name. But it can give you a second number that you can allocate to accounts, password recovery, so it’s not all with your active device. This reduces some risk as it can be a phone you keep in your office or locked up. This can also help you from being tracked because if you use this phone number it’s not tied to your regular cell phone’s location. It also reinforces the safety of your account if your phone is lost or stolen.
A Burner Phone
A burner phone can still be tracked. But if you follow the proper steps you can actually keep your identity a secret. However, burner phones have finite amounts of time. If you’re on a phone bill, it’s tied to you. Burner phones can be a great alternative to use when dating, selling products online, or using certain accounts. Since the status of your account can change you likely will not want them tied to any major accounts. But they are perfect for using as a dummy number on accounts that ask for your number. Just be mindful of not using it on any account you need a phone to recover.
Google Voice Number
Google Voice is a free VoIP-based service that lets you create a free second number. This can be a dummy number you give out to companies for added privacy. Phone calls and texts can be routed to your phone. It allows for calls to this number to ring on any of your lines. You can also route it anywhere in the world. These make great decoy numbers because they will still work on your phone but don’t give someone full access to your phone.
There are apps that create alternate phone numbers for you as well. PC Mag profiled the top apps including Burner, Hushed, Flyp, Line2, and TextNow. These apps let you create a second phone number that you can call or text from. They range from $3.99/per month to over $100 per year. These apps essentially let you lease a number because if you cancel it or your bill fails, you will lose access to your second number. These can be great options for accounts that aren’t particularly important or to get added privacy when giving out your number.
Our phones have become more vital in our lives. As such, we should be mindful that our phone numbers can be as important, if not more, than our email addresses. The more you use your phone the more it’s important to be mindful of who has your number, which accounts need your number, and just how important it may be to have a secret phone number to protect yourself.
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