Do you stare at your smartphone and wonder if it’s listening to you? Why is it that whenever you seem to talk about any subject on a phone call or in a text message that an advertisement suddenly appears trying to sell you something related to it? Or perhaps the Google Assistant or Siri suddenly interrupt your conversation without being prompted.
It’s these types of situations that have people concerned about their privacy when using their devices. Not just when they’re having conversations around their device, but even when they use it to send a text message or make a phone call.
Thankfully, it is possible to send an anonymous text message or block your number when calling so no one can see it. You don’t even need to be a hacker or a smartphone expert to encrypt your smartphone from prying eyes and ears. Simply follow these steps if you want to make yourself invisible from the outside world.
How to Send an Anonymous Text Message
A standard text message is sent as a package, which includes your digits, the phone number of the person you’re sending it to, and the message you’re relaying to them.
But with an anonymous text message, your information gets removed after your carrier is charged for sending it. Alternatively, the service you use to send the communication will use its own phone number, so something gets displayed on the recipient’s device when it’s received.
There are a few different ways that you can send messages and keep your number private. Here are just some of the most common that most people use.
Sending Text Messages Through a Website
If you’d prefer not to use your phone to send a text message, you can use a website on a laptop or PC instead. Many of these sites restrict the types of messages you can send, but this is also how you can be confident that it’s a reliable site and won’t infect your device with any malware or viruses.
Sending a text message is relatively simple and usually involves filling a few different fields. Some of the standard ones you’ll need to provide information for include:
- The recipient’s number
- A message header
- The contents of the text message
- A carrier such as AT&T or Sprint
Some websites may also require you to pay a fee to use their service. Payments can be made using a credit card or digital methods such as PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. However, keep in mind that this can link information back to you and doesn’t make you completely anonymous.
If you’re looking for a reliable website to send a text message, some of the most popular include:
- Text ‘em
Sending Text Messages Through Apps
A more secure alternative is to use an application that provides end-to-end encryption to ensure all of your text messages are anonymous. It doesn’t matter if you’re using an Android device or the latest Apple iPhone. You can install a messaging service that can be used solely to send private messages or replace your texting app altogether.
One of the most secure is Signal. It is supported by Edward Snowden, who is best known for leaking several confidential documents gathered by the NSA. It’s an all-in-one service that can encrypt messages, calls, and send images and files anonymously. It can also block your phone number for calling and messaging without making any changes to your system configuration.
Surespot is another alternative that uses one of the strongest encryptions available on the market today. It can be used completely anonymously and doesn’t require you to share your contact list or even your phone number to use it. However, it does require the other user to have the app installed on their device as well in order to receive the messages you’re sending them.
Sending Text Messages via Email
Perhaps the most complicated method to send an anonymous text message is by using an email address. You’ll need to create a new one specifically for this purpose, as your personal email or work email address is likely to hold all of your sensitive information.
Once you’ve set one up, you’ll then need to look up the carrier your recipient uses. You can use a free lookup service to determine whether they’re with a company like Verizon Wireless or Sprint. Then you will write the text message in the body of the email and address it to the recipient’s number at the phone carrier’s email (e.g., [email protected]).
How to Hide Your Caller ID
No matter what type of smartphone you own, it’s possible to change your caller ID settings to hide your phone number. Instead of identifying you as the caller, the recipient will see “private number” displayed instead. This might reduce the chance of the person you dialed answering the call, but it also reduces the risk of scammers and telemarketers getting a hold of your personal information.
How to Block Your Number on an iOS Device
It’s easy to hide your number on an Apple smartphone as they all tend to use the same operating system and have the same menu options regardless if you’re using an iPhone 12 or iPhone 6.
Open the Settings app on your phone and select the Phone menu. Scroll down until you find the option to “Show My Caller ID.” Switch it to off and hit the home button to exit out. Now anyone you dial will see a “private number” calling on their device.
How to Block Your Phone Number on an Android Device
New versions of Android smartphones hit the market every year, which means the settings menu can alter with each new model. There are also companies like Motorola and Samsung that use custom software on Android devices that have different setups unique to their phones. While it can make it challenging to find the caller ID setting, it’s not impossible.
Start by opening the app you use to make phone calls. In the top right, there should be three dots that you can tap to access the settings. You then need to select Call Settings and choose your SIM card. In additional settings, you should find the option for caller ID and the ability to hide your number.
This will keep your phone number hidden anytime you make an outgoing call. You can turn it back on at any time by following the same steps and selecting the Show Number option.
How to Make an Anonymous Phone Call Without Changing Your Caller ID
If you don’t want to play around with your mobile’s configuration to make a simple phone call, then another alternative is to put a small code in front of the recipient’s number. This is the ideal solution if you’re making a one-time call to someone or only want certain people not to see your phone number.
You can even save the code into your contact’s phone number so that you don’t need to dial it each time manually. The code does differ between countries and also the type of phone you’re calling. Some of the most common include:
· United States – *67 for all carriers except for AT&T and #31# for AT&T phones
· Canada – *67 for landline phones and #31# for mobiles
· The United Kingdom and Ireland – 141
· Italy – #31# for mobiles and *67# for landline phones
· France – #31# for mobiles and 3651 for landline phones
· Australia – #31# for mobiles and 1831 for landline phones
· Japan – 184
· New Zealand – *67 for Vodafone phones and 0197 for Telecom and Spark Phones
Most Android phones use a GSM network, which means you only have to dial #31# no matter what phone number you’re dialing and where the person you’re calling is located.
The Importance of Privacy
If you want to send an anonymous text or block your number when you make an outgoing call, several options are available to you that don’t require you to take your phone apart and rebuild it.
You can use websites, applications, and unique codes to protect your privacy, or you can alter your device settings no matter whether you own an Apple or Android phone. Just prepare yourself for the possibility that your call or message might not get answered because you’re listed as a private number.
If you are concerned about your private information being seen or heard by the wrong people, then you might want to consider a Virtual Private Network to protect yourself from any digital dangers. Not all VPNs are alike though. So it’s important to know the right one to choose so you don’t impact your data speeds or give away your identity.
Don’t risk your private information getting into the wrong hands. See how your Virtual Private Network stacks up if you need to consider an alternative provider to remain anonymous online.