We use our phones for everything. Your phone number becomes a recognizable piece of data that ties us to our financial and personal records. So it’s not just criminals who might benefit from a burner phone.
If you use your everyday number on Craigslist, in an ad in the paper (remember them?) or on a dating site, you run the risk of of unwanted calls or texts from strangers on your personal line. In addition, your number could be harvested and sold to call centers trying to sell you timeshares or get your vote.
It could make sense to get a “burn” – or temporary – phone for these interactions. Burner phones can be bought for cash for as cheap as $10 and don’t have a contract. Additionally, phone providers don’t track personal data. If you get one that isn’t tricked out, the battery life is much longer than a smartphone. This Alcatel A206 by TracFone claims 17 days battery life. By law, all phones must be able to free dial 911. It’s a good back-up to have in the car or a kid’s backpack.
There are also apps for your smartphone that allow you to add another number with a different area code to obscure your identity when you select the option.