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Hey there, listeners. It’s Brett Molina. Welcome back to Talking Tech. So have you ever had a scenario where you’ve had to give out your phone number? Maybe you didn’t really want to, but you kind of did anyway, could be for a colleague, could be something at work, could be had to sign up for something and you had to hand out your phone number. There’s countless situations like that, where you kind of run into that scenario. But what if you’re trying to protect your privacy? What if you’re in a situation where you don’t want to hand out your phone number, but you still want kind of a way for someone to contact you, whether it’s call, text, whatever it may be?
My colleague Kim Komando writes about this in a column you can read on tech.usatoday.com, How To Get Phone Calls Without Sharing Your Real Number. So there’s two big ways that she mentions that you can do this, and you can read more about it in her story. But here are the two options that she lays out. First off, let’s start with Google Voice. It’s a free service, and it basically gives you a phone number that you can use for anything. So it works for domestic calls, international calls, and you can use it to get texts and voicemail. So it’s easy to set up too. You do just have your own Google account. You download the app for iOS or Android. You sign in, you follow all the privacy tools. Then you tap search to choose a phone number from a list and you can search by area code, however you want to do it. Then you pick the phone number, you verify it, get it all set up, and then you’re done, and then you can use that new Google Voice number.
So say you’re filling out form and you just want to put a separate number that’s not your personal number, you can throw in your Google Voice number. And it’s a nice way to be able to still get that info without worrying about handing out your phone number all over the place. The other possibility is using a burner app. So you know about burner phones, right? Where you buy this phone, you might use it for a short-term time, and then you get of it. These apps kind of work in the same way. It gives you a second phone number, and you use internet data or WiFi to make and receive calls and texts. In the same way, it works for a short term, or you can use it long term.
Burner is one of the more popular apps that Kim mentions. You can route calls to this second number. You can do a lot of other stuff. There’s a free trial with it. After the free trial, plans start at 4.99 a month, or you can do 47.99 for a year. There’s another one called Hushed, H-U-S-H-E-D. And it lets you create numbers from all over the world if you want to go outside your area code or the US. If you’re someone that maybe doesn’t want people to know exactly where you’re located by your area code, you could pick a number from a different area code, so people aren’t sure. A pre-played… a prepaid plan, excuse me, starts at 1.99 for seven days, you get bundled minutes. You can obviously pay more and you add more to it, depending on what you need.
So those are some of your options. If you want to learn more about this, learn about some other tricks and tips from Kim, be sure to read her column on tech.usatoday.com. Listeners, let’s hear from you. Do you have any comments, questions, show ideas, any tech problems you want us to try to address? You can find me on Twitter @brettmolina23. Please don’t forget to subscribe and rate us or leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, anywhere you get your podcasts. Don’t forget, do you want tech news delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe to the Talking Tech newsletter, newsletters.usatoday.com to sign up. You’ve been listening to Talking Tech. We’ll be back tomorrow with another quick hit from the world of tech.