Stop giving your real phone number to strangers

Stop giving your real phone number to strangers

No matter how long you’ve had your phone number, it’s never too late to start being more discreet with it. Here are a few ways to do just that. Google Voice is a free service that gives you a phone number that you can use for just about anything. It works for both domestic and international phone calls and texts and voicemails. I first set up a Google Voice number when I listed a house for rent online. When that number called, I knew what the call was concerning. It’s easy to get your own number right on your phone. All you need is a Google account to get started. Review the terms of privacy and tap Accept or Continue to proceed. Tap Search to choose a phone number from the list. You can search by city or area code. Verify the number and enter a phone number to link to your Voice account. You’ll get a six-digit code to enter for the next step. Enter it and you’re done.

If you had to guess, how many people and businesses have your phone number? Perhaps a hundred? Reconsider your position. Do you want to be surprised? Your cellphone and landline number (if you still have one) are almost certainly available online, where I found mine — on a free people search site. Here are four websites where you can look for phone numbers by tapping or clicking. By the way, if your phone number appears on the first page of that list, follow these procedures to remove it. In the wrong hands, your phone number can cause a lot of harm. Someone may easily link you to a leaked password or even intercept your two-factor authentication codes using this method. To lock down your accounts in a more secure manner, tap or click.

Highlights

  • Burner is one of the most popular options for iOS and Android. You can route calls directly to your secondary number. You can try it out free for 7 days. After that, plans start at $4.99 per month for one line or $47.99 for a year. Hushed for iOS and Android lets you create numbers from all over the world, so you can go outside your area code or the U.S. if you’d like. That’s handy for traveling out of the country or obfuscating where you live. You can access your Hushed number(s) anywhere you have Wi-Fi. A prepaid plan starts at $1.99 for 7 days and comes with bundled minutes for local calls and texts. Unlimited talk and texting costs $3.99 per month and international service is $4.99 per month.

  • You can also use Google Voice to keep your old phone number if you’re switching to a new one. This step is smart, given all the accounts and services tied to your number these days. Tap or click here for the steps to get that done. Like what you’re reading? Get tech news delivered to your inbox and be up-to-date in five minutes or less. Sign-up for my free newsletter now. A burner app gives you a second phone number by using your internet data or Wi-Fi to make and receive calls and texts. You can use this for just a short time — like to contact someone selling an item you want to buy — or keep it long-term. A burner number is great for online dating, shopping, web forms, social media, and lots more.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts. Copyright 2022, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved. By clicking the shopping links, you’re supporting my research. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products I believe in. Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters, and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

When in doubt, make up a phone number. Most forms won’t let you move on without putting in 10 digits, so go with 555-123-4567 or something similar. Remember, if this is an account that will use your number for authentication, or it’s a company you want to hear from later, use your actual number or a burner. You can always go with an alias if the site allows you to sign up and register with an email address instead. Tap or click for the easy way to do it if you use Gmail. Scroll to No. 5. Bonus Tip: 10 security terms you need to know right now You can’t protect your privacy and security if you don’t know the lingo. In this episode, Kim teaches you 10 important security terms you need to know and why they’re so crucial.

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