Protect yourself with Secret Phone Numbers

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Protect yourself with Secret Phone Numbers

What is a “secret” phone number?  A secret phone number is simply a phone number that does not identify your true identity and is not easily traceable by resources available to the average person or investigator. With enough effort, the CIA or NSA will likely be able to trace the number back to you, but even tech-savvy private investigators and local law enforcement will likely find it extremely difficult and maybe even impossible to trace the phone back to you.

It’s easy to understand why a crook or a cheating spouse might want a secret phone number, but there are many legitimate reasons for the “average-Joe” to have a secret phone number . . . maybe even two or three numbers.

If you have ever bought or sold something on craigslist or some similar site, it is a good idea not to use your real phone number. Over the years many thousands of people have bought and sold many things on craigslist and similar online sites and never had a problem. But, robberies, assaults, and even murders connected to Craigslist and similar sites have peppered news sites for several decades. A recent research report found that in the United States from 2009 through June 2014 there were 45 murder victims connected to Craigslist postings. Considering that Craigslist operates more than 300 sites in 50 states and more than 50 countries the number of assaults, robberies, rapes, and murders associated with Craigslist transactions and other similar sites, is enough to cause anyone buying or selling something on these sites to use reasonable precautions to protect their safety.

Aside from protecting your safety when buying or selling something online, a secret phone number can come in handy when initially responding to employment ads. This is especially true if the potential employer is not a well-known company.

If you are dating, your phone number is one of those identifying pieces of information you might not want to initially share with someone you don’t know well. Using a secret phone number when you first meet someone is a personal safety precaution that should be common place now days.

Virtual and “burner” phone numbers have been around for quite some time. With many virtual numbers you receive a new phone number and calls are forwarded to your mobile phone. Google Voice was one of the first and because it is free, it is still a good option for many.

For somewhere around $5.00 to $12.00 a month you can have a new dedicated phone number added to your mobile phone that unlike most virtual phone numbers, is not simply a number that forwards calls to your mobile phone. A second phone number is just a second number added to your phone that works just like your first number.  You make outgoing calls and receive incoming calls on it just as you would using your first number and you can send and receive texts just as you would with your first number.

When you call or text someone from one of these “second-line” numbers the caller ID will show only your second-line number and whatever name you select when you signed-up. With many of these second-line numbers you can also customize your voice mail but often the best option is to use the generic voice mail greeting provided by the provider. That way someone doesn’t hear your voice and doesn’t even know if they are calling a man or woman.

One of the first providers of this service was a provider appropriately named Sideline. When they first started their service was free. The App had a small non-intrusive scrolling ad at the bottom of the screen but this was a small price to pay for free service that worked well. The free service no longer exists but there are now a number of other free second-line phone number Apps available. Just do an Internet search and you will find a number of second-line phone Apps available.

Talkatone is one App that gives you a second “secret” number and allows you to call or text anyone, anywhere in the world. Best of all, it is entirely free and works well. If you want complete anonymity, you can sign-up using any name. No identification verification is required. If you were to sign up using a disposable pre-paid phone that you purchased with cash, your anonymity would be further enhanced.

Your mobile number is one of the most identifying piece of information someone can have about you. When dealing with people you don’t know or our not sure about, why take chances. Using a private secret number to protect your privacy and personal safety just makes sense.






George Babnick
George W. Babnick, is a 34 year law enforcement veteran with an extensive background in physical security, criminal and administrative investigations, training, school policing, supervision and management, and criminal forensics. He recently retired as a Captain in the Portland Oregon Police Bureau where he managed the Training, School Police, and Forensic Evidence Divisions. He holds criminal justice degrees from Portland Community College and Portland State University and a law degree from Northwestern California University School of Law, Sacramento California.

Mr. Babnick is a longtime member of the Western Society of Criminology and is the author of articles on security and law enforcement, investigations, supervision and management, and risk management related to these subjects.

As a physical security expert, George Babnick provides private physical security consultations across the United States and consults with clients outside the United States. He specializes in assessing security problems for small and medium businesses as well as select individuals. He offers independent, honest advice and expertise, with the goal of providing all clients with practical and cost-effective security solutions to enhance security and effectively manage business and personal security risks.

Mr. Babnick is also a licensed Private Investigator and conducts investigations for attorneys, businesses, and individuals throughout the State of Oregon.

To learn more about security consultation and investigative services offered, please visit

Disclaimer: Nothing in any article on this blog should be construed as legal advice. Persons seeking legal advice should seek the counsel of an attorney licensed in their state.