– What is a Burner Phone –
You may probably have seen this in movies – spy movies, where these actors make a phonecall and dispose off the phone or SIM card. This article describes what a burner phone is, and from understanding the sections in this article, you will find out why such phones are the most discarded in movies. Keep reading!
Gone are the days when you had to buy a prepaid phone and then burn it (or toss it away) when you were finished with it as seen in movies. There’s an app for that now.
It’s called the Burner app, and it gives you all the privacy benefits of a Burner phone, plus some more features and functions that make your life easier.
Do you want to know what they use a Burner phone for these days and where you can get one? In this handy guide to Burner phone applications, we’ve got all the details for you.
What is a Burner Phone?
A burner phone, sometimes known as a “burn phone,” is a cellphone that is purchased but not intended to be used for an extended length of time. The buyer will often receive a prepaid phone with credit placed on it, which they may cancel incurring no obligations.
When looking for a burner phone, most people search for the cheapest one that have the bare essentials. Phones with 4G and touchscreens are nice, but they are more expensive and add little to a burner phone.
As a result, burner phones are often smartphones that resemble models from the early 2000s; as long as they can make and receive calls, they’re fit for the job.
Smartphones feature GPS capabilities, allowing you to track their whereabouts. They are internet-connected, making your position easier to track if you use social media apps like Facebook and Instagram.
A smartphone is very easy to track.
You don’t want any of this if you’re trying to get off the grid or evade the police. Instead, you want a basic phone with no internet connection that you can buy for cash at a 7/11 or a retailer like Best Buy.
The idea behind a burner phone is that it leaves no trace: there’s no purchase receipt (if you pay with cash), and the SIM card and number are effectively untraceable because they’re not linked to your credit card or any other personal information.
The phone can then make and receive anonymous calls. It will be impossible for anyone to trace it back to you. And, because burner phones are inexpensive, you can drop the phone and make tracks if you find yourself in a tough place.
Why Do People Use Burner Phones?
The major reason someone would use a burner phone is because characters in programs like The Wire use them — to elude the authorities. If you’re running an illegal company, you’ll need to make calls and be reachable, which is where a burner phone comes in.
Drug traffickers not just for business but also use burner phones to keep track of all their consumers. When they decide to leave the business, they can sell the burner to another dealer for a profit — it’s like having a Rolodex of future clients.
A burner phone, unlike an iPhone, is virtually off the grid; even the authorities would have difficulty tracking one. They’re sold for almost little in the 7/11 store, used and then thrown away if they hack the user.
The freedom to use and discard them is what makes them so appealing to criminals, convicts, and anybody else who wants to remain anonymous. The sole disadvantage of a burner phone is that its functionalities are severely limited.
They don’t have an internet connection, or the ability to run programs. They’re essentially feature phones, the type of cellphones that most people used before the development of smartphones in the 1990s.
The battery life of burner phones is excellent.
We will cover several subsections of the uses of burner phones.
The gig economy is on the rise, which is fantastic news for freelancers! When applying for freelancing jobs or dealing with many new, unexpected clients at once, however, you must still safeguard yourself and your privacy.
A Burner phone number is not only a terrific method to keep your personal life distinct from your freelance business life, but it’s also a great way to prevent being bothered by previous clients once they’ve finished.
2. Second Work Number
It’s difficult to strike the right balance between job and personal life, especially at an age when so many of us work from home. Consider having a second phone number for work if you find it difficult to turn off at the conclusion of your remote (or even in-office) workday.
Then, towards the end of the day, use the Do Not Disturb function to silence incoming calls and texts while still receiving regular messages and phone calls from your regular number.
3. General Safety
Do a fast Google search for your current phone number once again. Isn’t it incredible how much information appears? You don’t need a good reason to desire a Burner phone number; simply being concerned about your personal security and privacy is sufficient.
Prepaid and subscription Burner phone numbers are great for any occasion, such as messaging new acquaintances you meet while out and about or setting appointments at hair salons and workplaces to avoid receiving follow-up advertising calls.
4. Website Signups
We’ve all been there: you sign up for a website, add your phone number, and then start receiving SMS almost instantly. It’s inconvenient. Use a Burner number if you know you’ll need a phone number for any online sign-up.
If you’re going to use a Burner phone app for these purposes, we recommend buying a subscription for a second phone number you can use for both professional and personal reasons, and then using a prepaid Burner number for website sign-ups only.
5. Online Dating
Dating apps caution you not to give out sensitive information, like your phone number, to strangers you meet online.
A Burner phone number makes sense whether you’re looking for casual dating or just want to get to know someone before giving them your real phone number.
6. Online Selling
Craigslist has no buyer or seller protection policies, so if you decide to meet up with someone to swap an item, you’re on your own in terms of safety.
When selling or gaining items from online platforms, meeting in a public area and showing up with a friend or family member are two smart strategies to protect yourself.
If you must give out your phone number, use a Burner number so that the individual cannot reach you or access any of your personal information using your real phone number.
5 More Honest Reasons to Use a Burner Phone
We usually connect burner phones with dodgy jobs. Criminals purchase a burner phone, use it to commit crimes, and then dispose of it before the authorities can track them down. There are, however, several legal reasons possessing a burner phone is a smart idea.
1. Redirect Spam Messages Away From Your Main Phone
If you’ve had a smartphone for a long time, you’re well aware of how irritating spam can be. Marketers send you a deluge of unsolicited messages and robot calls after they have your phone number in their database, encouraging you to buy everything from new windows to accident compensation.
Fortunately, a burner phone solves this issue. You can use your burner phone number when you need to provide your phone number to sign up for a service.
When your burner phone rings nonstop, you may switch out the SIM card, turn it off until you need it again, or gain a new one.
If you want people to call you when you’re selling anything, this is also a good option. If you’re selling a car or a house, for example, you may give out a burner phone number and then delete it after you completed the deal.
2. Visit Another Country Without Roaming Charges
It’s a good idea to bring a cellphone with you when traveling overseas in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, some SIM providers refuse to cooperate with other countries, charging exorbitant roaming fees or providing no data at all.
Using a burner phone, however, you may avoid these issues. Grab an inexpensive phone and fill it with a SIM card that works with the carrier at your location before you go.
You may then use this phone to make local calls to companies and taxi services without incurring a large fee.
3. Take Your Phone to Dangerous Places
Is it unsettling to think of going up a mountain with an expensive iPhone or Samsung in your pocket? Do you want to have your phone with you on your boating excursion, but are afraid of what can happen if you capsize?
Leave your pricey phone at home and pick up a cheap burner phone to go on your excursions with you. That way, if it falls down a ravine or is drowned, you won’t have to break the bank to replace it.
4. Protect Your Main Phone From Theft or Seizure
If you’re worried about someone stealing, breaking, or going through your phone, a burner phone is a terrific option. That way, if your phone is taken, all you lose is a cheap phone with no information on it.
You might use a burner phone, for example, if you’re going somewhere a little tough. It makes your phone less enticing to thieves, and you lose very little if it is stolen.
Similarly, you never know how violent a demonstration will be if you attend one. Protesters have lost phones in the past while attempting to capture events, either from disapproving members of the public or from the police.
The police may also take the phone in order to examine its contents. If you’re on your burner phone, you can joyfully hand it up without fear of losing your privacy.
5. Stop Dating Creeps From Contacting You Further
You’ve discovered someone you like and want to take things further, but you’re hesitant to give out your phone number. After all, what if this individual turns out to be toxic and stalks or harasses you using your phone number?
Give them a burner phone number if you enjoy exchanging numbers with future flings. You may still text and call with a burner phone, albeit WhatsApp may be unavailable.
If they don’t turn out to be a good fit, you may return the SIM card or phone while keeping your important contacts secure on your primary phone.
Can Burner Phones Be Tracked?
They mostly used burner phones for anonymity, staying off the grid, and keeping them out of reach. Is it possible to monitor burner phones, though? They look to be untraceable in the movies. Is this, however, the case?
Yes. It is possible to track down a burner phone number. A cellular carrier or virtual number operator handles all mobile phones (including prepaid ones) and burner applications. They trace your identity through call logs, data use, estimated position, and text messages.
This implies that, while a burner phone is more difficult to monitor and trace than a standard smartphone, authorities may still track it down.
The police would have to discover the store where you got the burner phone and then figure out what SIM card you were using in order to trace it down. The user of the burner phone might easily buy a new phone.
Why Would You Use a Burner?
To safeguard your identity, you might use a burner phone or a SIM. They use the number without fear of being recognized for a handset or SIM card that isn’t tied to your real-world identity.
Someone could desire to remain anonymous for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you’re calling an employer with an anonymous tip. Use an encrypted messaging service like Signal or Telegram instead of giving out your primary phone number.
Perhaps you’re attempting to avoid handing up your primary phone number to marketers who will almost certainly contact you again—for example, while you’re looking at real estate listings or getting insurance quotations.
Because burner phones are feature phones, their capabilities are severely limited. Most don’t have cameras or access to a current browser, so they have to rely on phone calls and text messages. They have outstanding battery life, too, because they are very lightweight gadgets.
These gadgets run for days on a single charge, and sometimes, even months, provided the battery is used judiciously. Burner phones are perfect for usage in an emergency because of this.
What’s not to appreciate about a burner phone that has a long battery life and doesn’t require an expensive mobile phone plan?
Do Burner Phones Guarantee Anonymity?
If you’re considering purchasing a burner phone for reasons other than sending anonymous signal messages or avoiding spam with anonymous phone number, keep in mind that no cell phone can guarantee complete anonymity.
It all comes down to your “threat model number“—from what attacks are you attempting to safeguard your privacy?
Consider the procedure for obtaining a burner phone from a retailer. Let’s say you drive to a store, pay with a credit card for a burner phone, then drive home and turn it on.
License plate cameras have caught and recorded your license plate along the route.
It’s possible that a retail camera caught you buying the phone. You will have a record of purchasing the phone with your credit card company. When you turn on your phone at home, your phone’s cellular provider will have a fair sense of where your home address is.
Yes, there are several methods for an opponent with significant resources to track you down. If you’re truly attempting to elude federal officials, good luck. It’ll come in handy.
If you merely want a new phone number that isn’t immediately and easily connected to your identity by the companies you interact with and the individuals you call, though, that will suffice.
And if you don’t care about privacy and just want a backup phone with a long battery life for emergencies, this isn’t a big deal.
The FBI’s Insane ANOM Burner Phone Sting Operation
In 2018, US and Australian federal agents met over a few beers to discuss a plan to infiltrate drug groups in the US and Australia using burner phones equipped with the ANOM monitoring software.
The burner phones, came with the federal government’s ANOM software, and were on the black market as “the most secure burner ever.” The phone was in high demand.
The gangs were unaware, however, that the FBI had authority over the ANOM software that came pre-installed on the phone, allowing investigators to listen in on calls and follow gang members’ locations.
They sold 12,000 burner phones in the operation. The FBI recovered hundreds of tons of cocaine over a year.
“To give you a sign of our investigation, we could view images of hundreds of tons of cocaine hidden in fruit shipments.”
Where Can You Buy Burner Phones?
They will sell prepaid SIM cards and burner phones at convenience shops and electrical stores.
Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and other comparable retailers will have a nice range of inexpensive smartphones and SIM-only plans that just enable you to talk and text.
Prepaid SIM cards are widely available in convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, and drugstores, such as Rite Aid.
Depending on the features you desire, you may expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $50 for an inexpensive burner. Plans start at roughly $10, however the price will eventually depend on your consumption.
The Nokia 110 is a straightforward 2G feature phone that can talk for up to 14 hours on a single battery. The BLU Z5 features a camera at the same price. The Nokia 1.3, which costs under $100 and runs Android 10, is one of the most “sophisticated” low-cost devices.
If you truly desire anonymity, the extent to which you choose to anonymize your purchase is entirely up to you. You could have someone else buy it for you, or you could have them give you a gift card, which you could then use to purchase the phone.
Definitely don’t use your credit or debit card for reasons of anonymity, so buying from an online merchant is probably not the greatest option.
If you’re only looking for a burner to put in a survival kit or keep in your car in case of an emergency, you don’t have to be concerned about privacy concerns. Amazon, eBay, or your local service provider of choice are good options.
Is Google Voice and Other Services an Option?
Consider VoIP services if you just need a second phone number to call and text from your computer, or to use with a service like Signal or Telegram.
Google Voice, Skype, and other internet telephony services can offer you with a phone number for basic messaging and phoning.
Google Voice is only available in the United States, but it is free and simple to set up. You can create a new Google Account to use with your new phone number and take safeguards such as utilizing a VPN to hide your IP address.
Other options exist, but they will almost certainly charge you for a lot of services (and that may require linking your card).
Frequently Asked Questions
The following FAQs provide further insight into the application of burner phones.
1. What Is a ‘Burner’ Credit Card, and Is It Legal to Use One?
Ans: “It’s a credit card that serves as a reference to your genuine credit card for a certain period and for a set amount of money.
We may get Visa cards on the Visa website.
We usually refer to them as “one-time use credit cards” rather than “burner credit cards.”
It protects your credit card from criminals by preventing it from being exposed to persons who cannot properly administer websites.”
2. What’s a Burner Phone Used For?
Ans: “Burner is a mobile application for iOS and Android made by Ad hoc Labs, Inc. that allows users to create temporary disposable phone numbers in the U.S. and Canada.”
3. Why Are Prepaid Phones Sometimes Called ‘Burner Phones’?
Ans: “They’re cheap and disposable, and they leave no trace of their owner. You can buy a phone, use it to do whatever business you don’t want tied to you or your actual phone, and then “burn” it.
There are other programs that add temporary or limited-use phone numbers to your Android or iOS device, however these numbers may be tracked back to the host phone.”
More FAQs on Burner Phones
This section reveals if burner phones are actually traceable by law enforcement agents or they remain discreet.
4. Can the Cops Find Out Who It Is if You’re Calling from Burner?
Ans: “If a judge orders it, the phone company where you get your service will provide the authorities with the information they need to identify your real phone number.
The court has the authority to issue a subpoena to the burner app company. I have boost mobile and I know they would give up everything in an instant, lol!
The court can issue a subpoena to the carrier for the burner phone number, which would notify the police that the burner phone number was issued to the burner app firm on the day in question.
The court can also issue a subpoena to the burner app vendor, which would alert the police that they allocated the burner phone number to relay calls to your number on the day in question.”
5. How Do You Tell if A Phone Number Is a Burner?
Ans: “When you get a call from your Burner, it’ll go via your regular phone number and seem as your Burner number phoning you.
Before they list the Burner number than contacting you, you can receive a notice that notifies you when a number is calling and who it is.”
FAQs on Availability of Burner Phones
Go through this section to find out how and where to purchase a burner phone.
6. Is There Any App Providing Burner Phone Numbers?
Ans: “For iPhones there are a few, you can search the App Store for
While there are many apps providing burner phone services, we have tested and recommended these two.”
7. Are Burner Phones Already Charged Up When You Buy Them?
Ans: “For common knowledge that exists for burner phones, such haste and urgent need required the burner phones to be ready and be in good working condition.
Hence, burner phones come charged and powered. Although some burner phones may have a flat battery due to time and battery half-life. You can however purchase an external battery at the same store.”
8. How Do You Turn an Old Android Phone Into a ‘Burner’ Phone?
Ans: “You don’t!
A burner phone is a one-time use phone that leaves no trace of its previous owner.
It would be easy to track you down if you used your previous phone as a burner.
A prepaid (dumb) phone purchased with cash and without registration would be the most effective burner phone. Some countries require registration to prevent use of burner phones.
To use an old phone as a burner phone, get it secondhand and anonymously.
(and turn off tracking tools like Google’s location history and find my phone)“
FAQs on Burner Phone Conversion
For direct answers and personal experience on how burner phones work. Also, for what phone to call burner phones, go through this section for direct response.
9. How Do Burner Phones Work?
Ans: “The television show “The Wire” made burner phones famous when drug traffickers used them to communicate. Criminals long before have used these technologies HBO made them famous.
A burner phone is a prepaid device in the strictest sense. Burners vary from prepaid phones in that they are used for a single purpose and then discarded. We sincerely hope you don’t throw away your phone after a few weeks of use.
Prepaid phones are more difficult to trace because we can purchase them with cash (and without a contract). They are used for specific (illegal) acts and then trashed. More significantly, the phone number—when it’s “burned,” or too dangerous to use.”
10. Can You Still Get ‘Burner Phones’?
Ans: “If you mean $20 prepaid phones, then sure, you can still get those. The media coined the phrase to denigrate them because some people use them for malicious purposes.
Prepaid phones are typically ideal for emergencies and when heading out on a trip. Examples are camping or hiking, and you don’t want to carry your pricey normal phone with you.
I know a lot of folks that buy them only for that reason. I also know many people who don’t want a postpaid plan or a phone that costs several hundred dollars. Some people choose to live on a shoestring budget, while they force others to.”
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