Internet Security

How to Get a Disposable Phone Number

Ben Stegner 29-09-2007

This post was originally about Numbr, a free service for creating disposable phone numbers. The service no longer exists, so we’ve updated to include an alternative.


You might have heard of using a burner phone 4 Good Reasons To Get an Emergency Burner Phone Your smartphone has tons of features, and that's a great thing. Sometimes, you just need a basic phone to keep around for emergencies. Let's look at why. Read More , but what about a burner number? Reasons to use one include: a secondary number for automated services, protection when using services like Craigslist, and privacy when you don’t want to give your real number to someone.

Burner is one of several apps that will provide you with a temporary number The 5 Best Apps for a Temporary Burner Phone Number Need to stay hidden? These fake number apps let you generate a burner number so you keep your real phone number private. Read More . New users can try a free plan for seven days that includes 20 minutes and 40 text messages — great if you only need a temporary number once.

If you want to use burner numbers regularly, there are several plans to choose from. You can buy credits to pay as you go, or get an auto-renewing subscription that allows unlimited use of a number. Burner offers Android and iOS apps for managing your digits.

If you don’t care much about calls and just want to text with your burner number, try SMS Receive Free. Unlike Burner, this service is completely free and ad-supported. It’s meant for when you sign up for websites or services that require a phone number. Thus, you won’t want to use this one for any long-term functions.

Despite its name, SMS Receive Free does handle incoming calls — but they automatically end after a minute since they’re only intended for confirming activations. Text messages only stay on the site for about 24 hours, and phone numbers rotate every month.


How to Get a Disposable Phone Number SMS Receive FreeIf neither of these services sound like what you need, your best bet is signing up for a second phone number with Google Voice Google Voice Gets an Update and Is More Useful Than Ever Google Voice, long thought abandoned, was just revived by Google. Here's what's up with Voice and what you can expect to see in the revamped apps. Read More . It’s not a true burner number since it’s tied to a Google account and is semi-permanent, but it still provides you with a number other than your real one.

Do you use a burner phone number? What service powers yours? Share with others in the comments below!

Image Credit: Atsushi Hirao via Shutterstock

Related topics: Online Privacy, Phone Numbers.

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  1. Princess
    December 15, 2008 at 2:47 am

    I don't trust my boyfriend....I think he has at least 2 other women calling his phone leaving messages, but won't let me near his cell....can I use this service to have his voicemails forwarded to my cell? If so, how do you go about this? I need to know because we just opened a business together and I don't want to walk away without my investment first! Thank you!

    • ROS
      April 14, 2016 at 11:55 am

      No! If you don't trust your boyfriend you have to break up with him, not to be a coward and try to spy on him!

  2. MinchinWeb
    May 2, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I'm not sure what happened to, but I can't find the link to request a phone number; it looks like they offered that as they were testing out the service and have now moved on to providing professional service to paying clients.

    As an alternative, I've found Google's has worked well. Although it doesn't give you an annonmous number per se, it does have decent call managing services, including the ability to play a "Not in Service" message to select callers (like ex's!). A bonus is it will forward to Canadian numbers.

  3. Pierre
    February 17, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Alas, Numbr is no longer an option either at the present with no hint of when, if ever, it might be. Per their website when you click Get a number, you are taken to a page that reads:

    "We are scaling our infrastructure to support rapid user base growth. During this upgrade, new Numbr allocation is limited to a select set of invited users.

    Thanks for your continued support and feedback. Please come back later for some exciting updates.

    -Team Numbr"

    It's been this way since I first visited it several weeks ago.

    Any other alternatives out there for this? Also, does this change the CID and the ANSI for outgoing calls-- as I believe the now defunct Camophone did? Toll-free numbers ALWAYS get your information, the logic being that it's theirs since THEY are paying for the cost of the call.

    Specifically, I'm looking for a way to call 800/888 numbers anonymously (e.g. a crime tip line, terrorist tip line, a company LP tip line, a news tip line, anonymous Employee Assistance Programs, etc.), but caller ID block doesn't work since ANSI still gets sent through.

    Short of going to a pay phone (if one can find one... in working order... much less with a booth for privacy!!), does anybody know of any way to make truly anonymous calls to 800/888 numbers... a service that strips or dummies both CID, ANSI, and is untraceable?

    Toll-free numbers ALWAYS get your information, the logic being that it's theirs since THEY are paying for the cost of the call.

  4. ted johnson
    December 12, 2007 at 5:32 am

    I just want to get a free phone number to use, dont need this other stuff where do I need to go to get number and is it really totally free.