For the most part, we purchase phones to keep them as long as possible; however, sometimes people buy “burner phones” for short-term use. So, why are people buying phones with the intent of not using them for long?
Let’s take a look at the concept of burner phones, and how you may use one in the future.
What Is a Burner Phone?
A burner phone, also sometimes called a “burn phone,” is when someone purchases a cellphone that they don’t intend to use for a long period of time. The buyer will typically get a prepaid phone with credit loaded onto it, which they can dispose of whenever they please without worrying about ongoing contracts.
When someone shops for a burner phone, they usually look for the cheapest deal that offers the absolute basics. Phones with 4G and touchscreens are great, but these features tend to hike up the price and offer nothing special to a burner phone.
As a result, burner phones are usually cellphones that look like models from the early 2000s; as long as it can make calls and receive texts, it’s perfect for the job.
5 Honest Reasons to Use a Burner Phone
Usually, burner phones are associated with shady jobs. Criminals buy a burner phone, use it to perform illegal actions, then get rid of it before the police can trace them. However, there are plenty of legal reasons why owning a burner phone is a good idea.
1. Redirect Spam Messages Away From Your Main Phone
If you’re a long-time owner of a smartphone, you’ll know how annoying spam is. Once marketers have your phone number in their database, they begin sending barrages of unwanted texts and robot calls to encourage you to buy everything from new windows to injury compensation.
Fortunately, a burner phone gets around this problem. When you need to supply your phone number to sign up for a service, you can give them your burner phone number. Then, when your burner phone begins ringing off the hook, you can either swap out the SIM card, turn it off until you need it next, or get a new one.
This is also useful if you want people to call you when you’re selling something. For instance, if you’re selling a car or a house, you can give out a burner phone number and get rid of it once the sale is made.
2. Visit Another Country Without Roaming Charges
When you go abroad, it’s a good idea to have a cellphone on you in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, some SIM carriers don’t play ball with other countries, offering either a very high roaming charge or no data whatsoever.
However, you can avoid these problems using a burner phone. Before you travel, grab a cheap phone and load it with a SIM card compatible with a carrier at your destination. You can then use this phone to call businesses and taxi services within the country without racking up a huge bill.
3. Take Your Phone to Dangerous Places
Does the concept of hiking up a mountain with an expensive iPhone or Samsung in your pocket make you feel uneasy? Do you want a phone on your person during your boating trip, but hate to imagine what would happen if you capsized?
Leave your expensive phone at home and grab a cheap burner phone that you can bring along on your adventures. That way, if it does fall down a ravine or end up submerged, you can replace it without denting your bank account.
4. Protect Your Main Phone From Theft or Seizure
A burner phone is a great idea if you think someone might steal, break, or go through your phone. That way, if someone does seize your phone, all you lose is a cheap phone with no information on it.
For example, if you’re planning to go somewhere a little rough, you could use a burner phone. It makes your phone less appealing to steal, and if someone does take it, you lose very little.
Similarly, if you plan to go to a protest, you can never be sure how violent things will get. In the past, protesters have lost phones while trying to record events, either from disapproving members of the public or the police.
The police may also seize the phone to go through its data. If you’re on your burner phone, however, you can happily surrender your phone without worrying about your privacy.
5. Stop Dating Creeps From Contacting You Further
You found someone you like the look of and you want to go a step further, but you’re worried about giving over your phone number. After all, what if this person turns out to be toxic and uses your number to stalk or harass you?
If you’re someone who likes swapping numbers with potential flings, give them a burner phone number. You can still use a burner phone to text and call, although WhatsApp may be off the menu.
Regardless, if they do turn out to not be a perfect match for you, you can ditch the SIM card or the phone while keeping your trusted contacts safe on your main phone.
How to Get a Burner Phone
So you’re interested in getting a burner phone, but the question remains: where do you get a burner phone? It’s easy to find the most expensive, flashy phone that money can buy—just look for the advertisements. Finding a phone around the $30 mark, however, is a little trickier.
Reuse an Old Phone
Before you rush off to buy a new phone, try opening the dreaded “old electronics” drawer. If you’re an avid smartphone user, there’s a good chance that you have an older model you put in there long ago.
Take it out and check if it still turns on. If it does, order a SIM card for it. If the phone is carrier locked, make sure the SIM card matches the network the phone is locked to. Then, use it as you would a regular burner phone to save yourself some money.
Where to Buy a Burner Phone
If you don’t have any old phones sitting around, you can visit your local phone store and browse their range. Some of them carry phones in the ultra-budget range, and they’ll often sell them with some credit preloaded and ready to use.
If you can’t find one, you can try Amazon instead. Amazon has an entire range below $50, At the time of writing, you can purchase a cheap smartphone that’s locked to a carrier, or a regular cellphone that’s unlocked. The former is nice for some additional features, while the latter is handy if you want to keep the phone but swap the SIM out to protect yourself.
Adding Additional Numbers to Your Main Phone
If you don’t want to buy a second phone, you can add an additional number to your main one. Unlike buying a new phone, adding a number won’t protect your main one from damage or theft. However, it’s an easy and cheap way to create and dispose of numbers without changing phones.
If your phone has a dual-SIM setup, you can add another SIM card to it. This gives you a second number that you can freely give out, then throw away when it has done its job.
Alternatively, you can grab a burner phone app. These allow you to create and delete phone numbers quickly and easily without needing to swap phones or SIM cards. If you’re interested in this method, be sure to try the best apps for a temporary burner phone number
Keeping Your Primary Phone Safe
Whether you’re on the dating scene or climbing a mountain, there are plenty of reasons why you should get a burner phone. Now you know what they are, how to use a burner phone, and where to buy one of your own.
The next time someone you dislike asks for your number, why not give them a prank phone number for bad dates
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