Have you ever gotten spam calls and texts from numbers you don‘t recognize? Or hesitant to give out your personal number when online dating or job searching? You‘re not alone.
With all the data breaches and telemarketers these days, lots of people want to keep their phone number private and communicate anonymously when needed.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk through the different techniques to make anonymous calls and texts. You‘ll learn how to:
- Turn off caller ID and hide your number
- Use temporary burner numbers
- Send anonymous texts via email or websites
- Encrypt your messages for added security
- Legally protect your privacy
I‘ll also discuss the pros and cons of anonymity and give tips for staying anonymous based on my experience as an online privacy advocate. Read on to take control of your number and learn how to call and text anonymously.
Why Stay Anonymous?
First, let‘s discuss why you may want to hide your number in the first place. There are many valid reasons, including:
- Over 50 billion robocalls were made to US numbers in 2021 alone. (Source)
- Americans lost over $29 billion to spam calls in 2021. (Source)
Keeping your number private reduces the chances it ends up on spam call lists.
Separating Professional and Personal Life
You don‘t necessarily want colleagues, clients or bosses contacting you during off hours. An anonymous second number lets you separate work from personal time.
Online Dating Safety
When meeting people through dating apps and sites, it‘s wise to conceal your phone number until you really get to know them. Anonymous communication protects you from stalking and harassment.
You have the right to control who can contact you directly. Anonymity gives power back to the user.
However, anonymity does have some downsides to keep in mind:
- Can come across as untrustworthy if overused
- Prevents people from contacting you who have legitimate reasons
- Allows abusive/threatening behavior in some cases
In general though, hiding your number is useful for avoiding spam and protecting your privacy. Now let‘s get into the different techniques for making anonymous calls and texts.
How to Call Anonymously
When you make a standard phone call, your number automatically shows up on the recipient‘s caller ID. But there are ways to hide your caller ID before the call ever connects:
Turn Off Caller ID
You can temporarily disable caller ID on both iPhones and Androids through your phone settings:
- Open Settings app
- Tap Phone
- Tap Show My Caller ID
- Toggle switch off
- Open Phone app
- Tap 3 dots icon > Settings
- Tap Call Settings
- Tap Supplementary Services
- Tap Show Caller ID
- Select Hide Number
This prevents your number from being displayed for one call. Follow the steps again to re-enable it.
Use a Burner App
For more permanent anonymous calling, you can get a temporary second number from a burner app like Burner or Hushed.
Burner gives you unlimited calling on an anonymous number for as low as $4.99 a month. You can designate numbers for specific purposes (business, dating, travel etc.) and discard them when finished.
Hushed provides anonymous numbers with 300+ area codes starting at $1.99 monthly. I recommend Hushed if you only need a number for a short time.
Burner apps allow anonymous calling without having to constantly change your phone settings. They‘re great for online dating, job applications, and any scenario where you want an extra level of privacy.
How to Text Anonymously
In addition to anonymous calls, you may need to send private texts. There are several ways to text anonymously:
Send SMS Through Email
Any cell phone can receive text messages through email using the mobile carrier‘s unique domain.
Here‘s how to text anonymously via email:
- Create an anonymous email account on a secure, private platform like ProtonMail.
- Lookup the cell carrier for the number you want to text (ex. Verizon, T-Mobile)
- Combine the recipient‘s phone number with carrier domain (ex. [email protected])
- Compose your message and send
As long as you use a private email provider, the recipient will receive your text without seeing your real number.
Use a Burner App
Apps like Burner and Hushed allow you to send anonymous texts from your burner number. Simply sign up, select a number, enter the recipient‘s number, type your text, and hit send.
The advantage with a burner app is the number works for both calling and texting anonymously.
Use an Anonymous Texting Website
If you only need to send a quick anonymous text, websites like TextForFree.net and FreeTextMessenger.com allow you to text any number directly from your browser.
However, be cautious of potential spam or ads from less secure services. For frequent anonymous texting, a burner app is more reliable.
Anonymous Texting Method Comparison
|Completely free; Works with any cell number||Need to lookup carrier; Not as convenient for frequent use|
|Burner App||Simple to use; Supports calling and texting; Multiple number options||Ongoing subscription fee; Number only works while subscription active|
|Texting Website||Totally anonymous; No signup required||Spam risk; Numbers may be deactivated without warning|
As you can see, there are a few good options that each have their own pros and cons. Evaluate your specific anonymous texting needs to decide which method works best.
Encrypt Your Communication
Anonymous texts and calls keep your phone number hidden. But the conversations themselves may not be private. Encryption provides an extra layer of security for the actual content of your chats and calls.
End-to-end encryption, used by apps like Signal and WhatsApp, encrypts messages that only the recipient can decrypt. Not even the app or service itself can view your encrypted chats.
However, encryption still exposes metadata like your number, call duration, location, etc. For full anonymity, xx messenger uses multi-layered encryption AND protects metadata by routing messages through the blockchain.
No system is completely impenetrable. But encrypted apps offer much stronger privacy protection than standard calling and messaging. Before sharing sensitive information, I recommend enabling encryption.
Is Anonymous Communication Legal?
In most everyday situations, hiding your phone number is perfectly legal. However, anonymity does NOT make you exempt from laws prohibiting criminal threats, harassment, fraud, defamation, and the like. Remaining anonymous could still land you in legal trouble if used for clearly unethical reasons.
Some examples of questionable anonymous communication include:
- Repeatedly contacting someone who has asked you to stop
- Making violent or discriminatory threats
- Impersonating someone else
- Spreading harmful misinformation
Whereas harmless use cases include:
- Reporting tips to authorities
- Providing anonymous feedback
- Calling customer support with account questions
- Texting a first date where you feel unsafe sharing your number
I recommend avoiding hostile anonymous interactions entirely. But if you have specific questions about legality, consult an attorney familiar with laws in your state.
When used ethically, anonymity can empower people to communicate freely without giving up their privacy. But it should never come at the expense of someone else‘s safety.
I hope this guide gave you a good overview of how to call and text anonymously. Here are the key points:
- Anonymous communication helps avoid spam and protects privacy when used responsibly.
- Disable caller ID, use burner apps, email or websites to hide your number.
- Encrypted messaging adds a layer of security to calls and texts.
- Make sure to use anonymity legally and not for hostile purposes.
- No method is 100% foolproof, so use good judgment.
With all the telemarketers, data breaches and privacy concerns today, being able to call and text anonymously is a useful self-defense tool. Everyone has the right to control their personal information. Now you know how to keep your phone number private when you want to.
What anonymous calling or texting methods do you find most useful? I‘d love to hear your tips in the comments!