Do you need to mask your phone number?
We vote yes.
Americans waste 227 million hours (equivalent to 9.4 million days) on spam calls. Spam isn’t the only problem. People with access to your personal phone number can potentially find more information about you, persistently make unwanted contact–and even sell your data for profit.
Fortunately, masking your phone number is easy when you have the right tools. Masked phone numbers work pretty much the same way as your real number–and they’re disposable.
Let’s talk about what exactly masking your phone number means, how it works, and how you can mask your phone number using your phone or computer.
Masking your phone number helps you make calls without displaying your number.
Instead of sharing your real number with people, you share a different phone number (also called a burner number). When someone calls this number, it’s routed to your actual phone number.
Different apps use different names for their phone number masking feature. For instance, Cloaked calls this “cloaking.”
Cloaking helps you generate completely new identities. Cloaked generates a unique email and phone number so you can use this identity on social media, online dating, or anywhere you please.
The first thing you need is an app that offers a second phone number. This phone number works like a “cloak” for your real phone number.
Imagine you’re Batman and you have two phone numbers—one belongs to Batman and the other belongs to Bruce Wayne.
When you mask your phone number, you only reveal Batman’s phone number. When someone calls Batman, the call is forwarded to Bruce Wayne, keeping your real identity as Bruce Wayne a secret.
Phone number masking, or cloaking, has various practical applications like:
Online dating platforms are full of strangers trying to get your contact details.
Many of them are persistent about chatting with you, and no matter how clearly you communicate, they don’t seem to give up. Almost two-thirds of women and 27% of men under 35 have experienced persistent contact from a person they met on a dating platform, even after saying they’re not interested.
But, it’s not just online dating. Sharing phone numbers publicly anywhere can be a recipe for disaster. Sharing your number in online portals or social media can be an open invitation to spammers.
If you mask your phone number, you can just trash the second phone number if things get out of hand.
Receiving work calls after business hours? Protect your personal time by always sharing a second phone number with business associates and clients.
Using two separate numbers helps you manage personal and business communication separately.
Some apps might even help you track customer calls, monitor response times, and assess call volume on your business number.
You regularly share your number with people whom you need to be in touch with only for a brief period.
When you’re selling something on an online marketplace, renting your property for a few days, or subscribing to services that might potentially spam you, it’s best to use a masked number.
Once your interaction, relationship, or transaction ends, discard the number.
Phone number masking (or cloaking) gives you more control over your privacy. Here are some privacy benefits of phone number masking:
The most obvious benefit of phone number masking is that it keeps your real phone number a secret. No more worrying about hackers getting your info through data breaches, or telemarketers paying for your data.
Hiding your phone number protects you against unwanted attention from telemarketers and persistent acquaintances who just won’t take a hint–or are trying to spam you.
Phone number masking gives you control over who can reach you. If you want to cut off communication with someone, you can easily dump your virtual phone number and generate a new one.
There’s no need to carry two separate phones to keep business and personal communication separate when you can get a second phone number that forwards calls to your real phone number.
When you want to call your folks back in the States while sipping coffee somewhere in Paris, using a second phone number can help you avoid international rates.
Providers use VoIP technology to help you make these calls using the internet, which means you don’t pay international calling fees.
You never have to worry about your information falling into the wrong hands after masking your phone number. In fact, you can create unique identities (or “cloaks”) using Cloaked when creating an account on a website.
With just a few clicks, Cloaked can create a new identity with a unique name, email, and phone number. Every time you need to sign up, you can create a new identity. Or you can group specific platforms into a single identity.
Phone number masking hides your phone number when texting, too. Here’s how you can mask your phone number when texting:
Sign up with Cloaked, an app that offers privacy solutions. Once you’ve signed up, download the app to your phone.
Log into your Cloaked account and go to the “Create” section. Generate a new identity, which includes various elements—a phone number, email, password, username, and a one-time passcode.
Select the “Identities” section from the bottom, tap on your phone number, and select “Text from [phone number]” to send a text using your masked phone number.
Need a second (or third, or fourth) number?
Cloak your number in seconds with Cloaked.
The process for texting and calling is pretty much the same:
Sign up for a Cloaked account on the Cloaked website. Or download the app on your phone and sign up using the app.
If you’ve already created an identity for texting, you can skip to step 3.
Log into your Cloaked account, select “Create” from the options at the bottom of the app, and create a new identity. This identity includes a phone number, but you’ll need to generate it first.
About to make a call but don’t want to reveal your real number?
Head over to the “Identities” section in the Cloaked app. Tap on your phone number and select “Call from [phone number]” and when the dialer opens, type in the number you want to call.
When using social media or dating apps, Cloaked helps you generate unique identities for each account. This means you never have to share your real phone number or email.
You can discard your identity whenever you need to with a few clicks. Here’s how you can mask your phone number to protect your privacy when using online dating or social media platforms:
Sign up with Cloaked using either the website or the phone app—available on Android as well as iOS.
Launch the app and select the “Create” option at the bottom of your screen. Generate an identity, including a new phone number and email.
If you’re using the Cloaked website, click on the “New identity” button at the bottom-left and generate a new phone number and email.
Here’s the process of hiding your number when calling or texting from an iPhone:
Download Cloaked to your iPhone. Launch the app and sign up.
Create a new identity on Cloaked by tapping on “Create” and then selecting “Generate” next to the phone number field.
Navigate to “Identities” from the bottom of the app, tap on the phone number, and select “Call from [phone number]” to make calls.
The process to hide your phone number on Android will be the same as iPhone:
Masking your phone number on a landline isn’t as straightforward as it is on mobile phones because of traditional systems. Here are some options you could try:
Now that you know the basics of masked phone numbers, let’s address a few commonly asked questions.
You can create a virtual number that masks your real number using an app like Cloaked. The app lets you make calls using your virtual number and all calls to your virtual number are routed to your real number. So you never have to share your real phone number.
*67 is a vertical service code to hide your number from the recipient’s phone. Almost all service providers, including Verizon and AT&T, support this vertical service code.
When you add *67 before dialing someone’s number, the recipient sees a message like “Restricted” or “Private number” on their phone, even if they have your number in their phone.
*67 is a great way to call people from whom you don’t want to receive a callback. For example, if you’re calling a client after business hours for an emergency from your personal phone number, you might not want them to call you back on your personal number.
One thing to note—some people configure their phones to automatically block hidden or private numbers. If your recipient has blocked hidden numbers and you use *67, your call won’t go through.
Suppose you want to sell your car online.
The portal asks for your number, but you don’t want to share it publicly and you’re worried about the number ending up in the hands of spammers.
So you sign up with Cloaked, an app that helps you create a unique phone number to put up on the car sales platform.
When a potential buyer calls this number, it’s routed to your actual phone. The best part? The buyer never sees your real digits.
There are multiple ways to hide your caller ID:
Masking your phone number helps you protect your privacy throughout your entire online ecosystem. Getting one is quick and easy, but there’s more to protecting your privacy than masking your phone number.
With Cloaked, you can create identities. This means you can generate a second email, username, and password as well. You can use a different identity on all platforms so you can dump an identity if you feel the need.
Like the sound of it?