Site shows publicly available information based on your phone number


Burner, the company that makes an app that issues disposable phone numbers, is making a point about how much information your number can reveal about you.

Their new site, (which works on the web and mobile devices) Burner Challenge, displays information about you obtained from publicly available sources.

How much can depend. In my case, there was very little information but I typed in phone numbers of people I knew that revealed name, addresses (obscured by the app but available to others), job titles going back for years, education including college and high school, online profile “known associates” including friends, family members and co-workers and images from social media sources.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 4.33.39 PMBurner App
The challenge is designed to promote the company’s Burner App which creates an unlimited number of disposable phone numbers that can be used for talk and SMS texting, It’s a way to hide your identity while still being reachable which might not be a bad idea for online dating or online marketplaces like Craigslist or eBay where sellers and buyers may want to communicate without disclosing too much personal information. Another use is to separate your work life from your personal life or to have a “business number” that’s separate from your personal number yet reaches you on the same phone. When you make a call through the app, that number shows up as your caller ID and people can dial you at that number too.

Optional of town area code

The company doesn’t market this, but it’s also a way to get an out-of-town area code. I set up a 202 number so that people I call with the burner app think I’m in Washington DC.

You can get a free limited number with 15 minutes of talk and 15 text but you have to pay to use it more. For example $5.00 buys you unlimited  minutes and texts for a month. You can also buy credits for more limited usage.

Hide caller ID

Another option is to simply hide your caller ID by dialing *67 before a call. That doesn’t reveal who you are to that person but it also means they don’t have your number to call you back. Plus some people automatically block calls with hidden IDs so it’s not an idea solution.

Google Voice

Another option is the free Google Voice service. It’s not designed to be disposable — I’ve had the same Google Voice number for years — but it does allow you to separate out your work and personal phone numbers and has lots of other services including transcribed voice mail and the ability to ring multiple phones at the same time.

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