Why the World Needs Another Robocall App

Scammer on Line One


“Your telephone number was qualified by our booking system to receive an all inclusive, complimentary stay. For further details, press one now.”

“This is the information that I promised you about bringing in $10,000 or more every 10 to 14 days.”

“Hi, this is Rachel from Card Services calling about your credit card account. It appears that you are now eligible for a significantly lower interest rate on your account….”

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. With approximately 5 billion robocalls every month in the U.S., constituting nearly a third of all calls, we all get them. Too many of them.

They don’t care if you’re driving to work, in the middle of dinner, or watching your kids in the school orchestra. RING... RING… RING.

And while some are legitimate, many are pure, illegal scams. The minute you “press one to speak to a representative,” you’ll get connected to a scam artist whose goal is to convince you that you’ve won a prize, owe the IRS money, or will go to jail if you don’t give them your credit card, wire money, or send gift cards. Beyond direct payments, some scammers seek to commit identity fraud to take over and empty your bank, brokerage, cryptocurrency, and other accounts.

Unfortunately, some robocalls are even legal, even if they are of questionable legitimacy. For example, you may have someone trying to entice you into a misleading get-out-of-debt program or a credit card with a too-good-to-be-true rate that turns out to be only an introductory rate. Or maybe a call center for a health insurer will bamboozle you with technical details about insurance, hoping to convince you to switch plans. The elderly and other disadvantaged populations such as immigrants are particularly vulnerable and often preyed upon.

Because it’s so lucrative for scammers, and so hard to stop them or punish them, they keep coming, inventing new scams, and mutating new variations.  As WIRED recently put it in a headline, the robocall crisis will never totally be fixed.


New attacks need new defenses

If you’ve installed one of the well-known robocall-blocking or call identification apps (like TrueCaller, Robokiller, Nomorobo, or Hiya), you know that they can help but don’t fully get the job done. The calls slow down a bit, but some get through. And they keep coming.

That’s because most of today’s robocall blocker apps work via what’s called a “blacklist” model. That is, they maintain a list of known robocallers, match up incoming calls to it, and block the ones that match the list. New scam numbers are always being added to these lists, which can get sophisticated with user-reported numbers, predictive blacklisting based on patterns across a user base, and so on.

But the blacklist approach has a major flaw–spammers can get around it by “spoofing” legitimate numbers. With the spoofing technique, a robocaller can set a third-party phone number—an innocent-looking, generic one, or one in your area code and local exchange–as the callerID for their thousands of outbound calls.  

As a consequence of spoofing and other evasion tactics, even the best blacklist-based robocall apps–some of which tout how large their lists of known spammers are–let a lot of calls through. If you’ve installed one of these apps, you know they’re not enough.

The FCC has been wagging a finger at the big telecom carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint), and they claim to be working on the robocall problem via a project called the SHAKEN/STIR framework. But carriers have been dragging their feet on the project for years.  Given that the carriers make their money from phone call volume, we’re not holding our breath.

(The fact that the carriers’ own versions of robocall blockers don’t fully solve the problem is also telling.)

Previous regulatory efforts, including the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) and the Do Not Call Registry, have also failed to make a difference.

On top of all that, most people get many more unwanted calls that are not robocalls or illegal scams, but simply the normal-but-annoying calls that never seem to stop. Calls from salespeople from the gym, fundraising campaigns, reservation confirmations, and so on are annoying and disruptive. Even the best of the current crop of commercial robocall blocking apps won’t help you here.

Enter Firewall

Firewall works completely differently–via a whitelist model that forwards all calls away to a high-efficiency voicemail box. This means that all calls get screened by default, and your phone only rings for the callers you want. Everyone else gets analyzed by our algorithms, and either sent to voicemail with high-quality transcription, logged as a missed call with enhanced callerID, or silently marked as a robocall. It’s the killer app for robo blocking.

How do we know Firewall works? We have the receipts. The chart below shows the outcomes per thousand phone calls handled by Firewall during our 3-month beta test.

Call data per 1000 calls in Firewall Beta

Call data per 1000 calls in Firewall Beta

As you can see, almost 40% of incoming calls to our beta users were not on users’ whitelists and were effectively screened by Firewall. By contrast, only 14% or so (1/3rd of non-whitelist callers) would have been blocked by other apps. Firewall screened three times as many–yet our users were still able to return screened calls as needed. Overall, our beta users were thrilled with the Firewall service and we can’t wait to see how a broader audience reacts to it.

Firewall even blocked a new scam that was discovered during the beta test–one in which a known robocall would dial the user, and a micro-second later a second number would call, hoping to bypass the ringer and leave a scam message on voicemail. Because of the whitelist model, Firewall handled this gracefully.

We believe Firewall is an important new entry to call management, helping above and beyond trying to predict and filter robocalls, and instead screening all calls intelligently.  

Learn more about Firewall here, or install it here.

References and further reading:

Identity Theft Statistics

Fraud Statistics

Cybersecurity and Underserved Populations

The Robocall Crisis Will Never be Totally Fixed

Firewall’s Features and How They Work

Today we introduced Firewall - the smart call screening app that goes “nuclear” on robocalls and other unwanted calls. (Read the launch post here).

What makes Firewall the ultimate robocall killer

There are many other robocall blockers out there — you’ve probably heard of some of them, like  Nomorobo (our partners in both Burner and Firewall), Robokiller, AT&T Call Protect, to name a few.

Some of these apps function pretty well, but they generally work by trying to identify bad callers in advance and creating a “blacklist” to filter them. Today’s crafty robocallers and scammers have devised a variety of techniques to evade these apps and their blacklists, resulting in a large percentage of bad calls getting through. Most users of these apps report that they help, but don’t solve the problem.

Firewall gets the job done by taking a fundamentally different approach to it. Instead of trying to figure out which numbers are “bad,” Firewall forwards all your calls to the cloud, where we screen everyone except a “whitelist” — your family, friends, and other important people and phone numbers – that you have designated as good callers.  You can start with your whole address book, or add people to the whitelist one at a time, manually or from your feed of missed calls, any time. No one else will get through — which is why we think of it as an extreme robocall blocker.

Setting up Firewall

When you first set up Firewall, you will forward all calls to us by dialing a special sequence of numbers that tells your carrier to route your calls to us. Once forwarding is enabled, you will be prompted to set up your whitelist.  

After that, when you get a call from a whitelisted contact, it will pass through, and your phone will ring. If the caller is not on the whitelist, we screen the call to voicemail (sending you a notification that you have a message waiting). If we know it’s a robocall, we silently delete it.  

Behind the scenes, we’ll also run incoming numbers against our algorithms to detect bad actors and enhance the caller ID of the unknown callers. Our algorithms are powered by a variety of tools including Nomorobo’s robocaller database and our own proprietary machine learning. We also transcribe any voicemails using best-in-class natural language processing and we’ll send you a notification.

You can then pop open the app, see who or what business was calling, and decide whether to return or ignore the call, or add the caller to your permanent whitelist. You can even return the call via a temporary, anonymous phone number.

No more disruptive unknown calls, period.

Beyond Call Screening

Sometimes you need to keep your phone line open because you’re expecting a call--a meeting, a Lyft driver, or some other person that you haven’t explicitly whitelisted. It’s easy to pause Firewall any time, so all calls come through and you can be sure not to miss anything.  

If you don’t recognize something from your call log, you can also call that person back using a temporary and anonymous number that won’t reveal your main number to them.

Firewall is a completely free to download and evaluate for 14 days, then costs $3.99/month after that. You can download the app here.

Firewall Screenshot - Recents.png
Firewall Screenshot - Whitelist.png
Firewall Screenshot - Robocall.png

Introducing Firewall

Firewall Primary Logo.png

We are delighted to announce the release of a brand new product: Firewall, the call screening app that goes beyond robocall blocking to block 100% of unwanted phone calls. Think of it as the extreme robocall blocker.

Firewall is borne from our experience building and growing Burner into what it is today – the leading virtual phone number app, used by millions of people who want privacy for their mobile phone numbers and control over who gets to call and text them.

Burner may be the best extra-line app, but with over 5 billion robocalls per month in the U.S. alone and getting worse – not to mention all kinds of phone scams and other calls that are just annoying – we need better solutions to protect the first line too.

Firewall is the first and only app that handles all of the incoming calls to your number, passing through only the callers you’ve designated as your “whitelist” and sending the rest straight to voicemail (or to oblivion, if it’s a known scam or robocaller). Firewall has lots of other bells and whistles too, like high-quality voicemail transcription, easy ways to add new callers to your whitelist, and even an anonymous outbound calling feature, in case you need to return a call you’re uncertain about (powered by Burner, of course).  

Whether you can’t stand robocalls and need to “go nuclear” on them, or you just get too many  interruptions from calls that should have been texts, Firewall is the ultimate call screener for the mobile era – and the only foolproof fix for robocalls.

Brought to you by the innovative team that makes Burner, Firewall is our first new app and has been a long time in the making. It’s available for iOS in the U.S. starting today.

Meet Firewall

Install Firewall and start enjoying peace and quiet right now.

Or click for a detailed look at Firewall’s features and how they work, or to read more about why we believe the world needs another robocall blocker app.

A Few Burner Updates Too


In addition to Firewall and in response to popular demand, we’re also announcing VoIP-powered in-app calling for Burner for iOS. Any Burner line can be set to “in-app calling” mode, which enables handling of incoming and outgoing calls right in the Burner app. This means calls will run over WiFi or data, streamlined callerID, no record of calls on your carrier phone bill, and no more “press 1 to take the call” dialog. For more info on in-app calling click here.

Burner + Firewall

Using Burner and Firewall together is a great way to make your phone better, and the ultimate way to protect your privacy. If you’re using both Firewall and Burner, we recommend setting Burner to use in-app calling.

Burner has long been the best second phone number app, offering innovative features and a commitment to the privacy of our users. Firewall is the perfect compliment to Burner, offering users more control of their existing primary phone number.

Enjoy your privacy, and please feel free to comment below or tweet your feedback to @burner on Twitter.

Is Texting the New Email? American Workers Weigh in on Texting for Business

Texting now boasts a 98% open rate (compared to 25% for emails) and, with 90% of texts being opened within the first 3 minutes they’re received, it’s no surprise that Americans are making the shift to texting for business purposes. The Burner team recently conducted a survey among American workers to uncover just how much texting is dominating the business communication landscape and how workers really feel about texting for business.


Texting is an easy way to conduct business quickly, but it’s important to remember that using your personal number can be disruptive and even dangerous when it gets into the wrong hands. In fact, 79% of American workers reported they receive text messages from senders they don’t know on a weekly basis and 15% receive more than 20 texts per week from unknown senders.

Texting for business is also creating challenges for women in particular, sparking stressful or uncomfortable situations among colleagues. About 62% of American working women reported they sometimes feel uncomfortable with the idea of providing their personal cell phone number to business contacts.

While it’s frustrating that we have to worry about our privacy when giving our numbers away in a professional setting, as texting for business increases across the board, if you don’t adjust now, you might get left behind.

Luckily, Burner helps business people protect themselves by keeping their work number separate from their personal one and offering robocall protection from our integration with Nomorobo. That way, workers can adhere to this shift in communication without being placed in an awkward or precarious situation.

See the full survey results below:

  • 40% of American workers say that giving up texting would be most disruptive to their lives

  • 79% of American workers receive text messages from senders they don’t know on a weekly basis and 15% receive more than 20 texts per week from unknown senders

  • 30% of workers receive texts at inappropriate hours and 11% have received an inappropriate message from a business contact

  • More than half of American workers (58%) sometimes feel uncomfortable with the idea of providing their personal cell phone number to business contacts

  • 62% of American working women sometimes feel uncomfortable with the idea of providing their personal cell phone number to business contacts

  • Almost half of American workers (46%) respond to texts within 5 minutes

  • More than half of American workers (55%) text with people they do business with (clients, colleagues, customers) at least once a week

  • 66% of American workers feel it is appropriate to use texting for business and work-related conversations

  • 70% of American workers say that at least some of their business matters have moved from email to text in the last 5 years

  • Half of American workers (50%) are most likely to use texting when trying to reach a work colleague urgently or after hours

  • Emails are less urgent than texts. Only about 11% of American workers respond to emails within 5 minutes.

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6 Legal Aspects to Consider When Setting Up a Small Business

This guest post provided by Burner partner, MyCorporation. Visit them for more advice and tools to help you easily create your next business.

Once you have an idea for a new business and a business plan drafted up with a timeline to properly execute it, you might wonder what the next legal steps are to legitimizing the company. Rather than try to haphazardly figure it out through a Google search, we’ve created a quick 6-step primer to help you get covered and in compliance.

1. Incorporate or form an LLC

Maybe you’ve already done this and maybe you haven’t, but it’s priority number one for any small business getting started. Incorporating allows you to keep your personal assets separate from your professional ones. This is critical in the event that a serious issue, such as a lawsuit, arises because it will not affect your personal assets. Additionally, these legal entities allow you to establish credibility with consumers and provide a formal structure for your business.

2. Register your trademark

Chances are highly likely that your new business has a unique name, design, or logo — and it’s important to take the time to register the trademark and claim it as your own. Doing so ensures that your identity is protected and nobody else can infringe on your mark. Once you’ve conducted a name search to make sure the trademark is indeed original, then you can file an application to register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The mark belongs to you after that, and it will be much easier for consumers to identify your brand’s goods and services.

3. Figure out which business licenses and/or permits you’ll need

This will vary a bit depending on the industry your business is in, but most businesses require at least one license in order to operate. Check in with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to better determine the documents your business will need from federal and state agencies.

4. File for an EIN

Also referred to as a Federal Tax ID, an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is necessary for any business that plans to hire employees. Beyond new hires, you may want to apply for an EIN if you’re interested in safeguarding your business documents. If you would prefer not to use your social security number (SSN) as your identification on government forms and official documents, an EIN can be used instead and is less sensitive than an SSN in the event of identity theft.

5. Determine if you will need a DBA

A Doing Business As name (or DBA) allows you to conduct business or accept money under a name that is different from your existing business name. Even if you decide not to do that, you may file for a DBA anyway in order to open a business bank account. A certified copy of your DBA is a requirement from most banks to open a business account since entrepreneurs aren’t allowed to use their personal accounts under their business name.

6. Make sure you have a registered agent!

A registered agent, or RA, is the state’s point of communication with a corporation or LLC. They accept legal and official documents on behalf of your business which can include annual reports, renewal reminders, and legal notices like a court summons. An RA provides your business with an extra layer of privacy, ensuring that you receive these documents in a timely manner but out of the public eye to keep from potentially damaging the reputation of your business.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com which provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent services, DBAs, and trademark and copyright filing services. You can find MyCorporation on Twitter at @MyCorporation and Deborah at @deborahsweeney.

History of the Phone Number: A Timeline

If you told Alexander Graham Bell that one day we would all carry the technology he used to make the first phone call in our pockets, and that we could reach anyone in the world in seconds, he’d be as happy as a kid in a candy shop. But he probably wouldn’t recognize the devices we carry in our pockets as phones in the first place.

The telephone has gone through many iterations and changes since that day in 1876 when Bell made the first phone call to his assistant in the other room. And for that call, since there were only two phones in existence at the time, he didn’t even have to dial a phone number.

Once the technology was established, telephone companies were started, phone numbers were invented, area codes were designated, switchboard operators were hired, and people connected to emergency services by dialing 911. Not to mention the mobile phone and its more intelligent grandchild, the smartphone.


Through it all, one thing hasn’t changed much: the phone number.

In fact, the most recent innovation on the phone number took place more than 25 years ago, in 1992. Neil Papworth, a 22-year old developer and test engineer for Vodafone UK, texted Richard Jarvis: “Merry Christmas.” The text was sent from a computer, but received by Jarvis, a Vodafone executive, at the company holiday party on an Orbitel 901.

Since then, the phone number has remained static. Why has all this innovation stopped? In our opinion, there’s still work to be done. But let’s back up a little bit and look at how we ended up with the phone number we use today.

Those 10 trusty numbers

Before there were 10 digits in a phone number (not including country codes), there was an alphanumeric code to designate a phone number. The alphanumeric code used won’t look familiar to anyone today.

Known as the 2L-5N, or “two letter and 5 number” system, phone numbers were assigned to residents based on location. The two letters signified the closest telephone exchange, and the five numbers were the assigned phone number. There are two famous examples you might be familiar with:

Pennsylvania 6-5000

This phone number, immortalized in a Glen Miller song, will, to this day, connect you to the front desk of The Hotel Pennsylvania in New York. All you have to do is add on the modern area code.

Let’s break it down: The Pennsylvania Hotel was located nearest the Pennsylvania telephone exchange, or PE, named for Penn Station in New York City. So, to reach the hotel in the 1930s, people would dial PE6-5000 or 736-5000, swapping in numbers for letters. Tack on the modern 212 area code and you’ve got a modern, 10-digit phone number. Not so different from what it was in the 1930s.

Lucy and Ricky

If you tune in to a rerun of the classic comedy, I Love Lucy, you might hear one of the characters recite their phone number as: Murray Hill 5-9975. This might stump modern ears at first, but it’s quite simple.

Murray Hill is the nearest telephone exchange, so swap MU5-9975. Flip to all numbers, 685-9975, and you’ve got a phone number, minus the area code. Strange how so little has changed in 70 years.

The alphanumeric system was retired in the 1950s for a very simple reason: telephone operators often misheard similar sounding letters and connected callers to the wrong numbers.

Regional dialing

As the world became more connected and the quantity of phone numbers soared, the need for new numbers began outpacing supply and a switch was required.

The first area code was rolled out in 1951 to New Jersey. The 201 area code was born. Because this was still the time of rotary dial phones, the areas with the biggest populations received the easiest to dial codes. New York received 212, Los Angeles got 213, and Chicago became 312. More rural areas received harder to dial, larger numbers. Such as Texas’ 915.


The standardization of an emergency phone number did not become a reality until the 1960s. Children of the ‘60s were taught to call “nine-eleven” when they were in trouble, but the number was soon rebranded to “nine-one-one” when people realized time might be wasted by callers searching for a number eleven on the dial pad.

In some places, you could reach your local fire station by simply dialing 3473 (which spells “FIRE”).


For children who grew up in the cell phone age, their phone number is akin to their identity or social security number. Many young people, will carry the same 10-digit phone number for their entire lives. That is, until we invent a better system. But until that day, phone numbers continue to act as a unique identifier, as long as they continue to be the best way to get in touch with somebody.

Continuing to improve

At Burner, we want to make it easier to control your phone number, and bring it into the 21st century by making it act more like software. We believe your phone number shouldn’t be static -- it should integrate seamlessly with all the other apps and products you use to communicate and be productive, from Slack to Evernote to Google Drive. Instead of being assigned a number when you go into the phone store, you can use Burner to choose your own number, and manage multiple numbers on a single device.

We believe that in the future, customer demand will drive further innovation within the telephony space. In 2017, we launched an API with OAuth support, which serves as a platform to let other developers and businesses facilitate transactional phone numbers at scale, as well as provide innovators with accessible telephony functionality the major carrier infrastructure cannot currently provide—at least, not in an affordable way conducive to further innovation.

One phone number per device isn’t the end of the line for phone number innovation. Our mission continues to be to improve personal privacy and make choosing a phone number easier and smarter in the future.

Craving more?

There’s some crazy trivia out there about these very personal numbers. Most of us were assigned a random number when we purchased our first cell phone, but that’s not the only way to get hold of a phone number.

There’s also a market for buying phone numbers. Just like vanity license plates, you can purchase vanity phone numbers — or simply a phone number with a desirable area code. Area codes have become a symbol of local status, which comes with respect in some areas. The rare, longtime New York area code of 212, Los Angeles’ 310, Miami’s 305, Austin’s 512, and San Francisco’s 415 can all sell for thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars.

According to The Washington Post, the most desired and expensive numbers end in -HURT or -PAIN, “since they're desired by personal injury attorneys.” Other popular endings include -HOME, -ROOF, and -CASH. The most expensive phone number ever sold was 666-6666, which sold for 10 million Qatari riyals in a charity auction.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, a number-lover, got into the vanity phone number business, too. Legend states that he purchased 888-888-8888, but received so many prank calls that it didn’t last long.

Even though phone numbers haven’t changed much since they were invented, it doesn’t mean there isn’t improvement left to make. At Burner, we strive every day to make communication easier for our customers, with improved options to protect their privacy.

Interested in learning more about the history of the phone number? This infographic lays out all the dates for you. If you find it interesting, consider sharing it with your friends!

Click to enlarge!

That’s your history lesson for today. What kind of innovation would you like to see for phone number technology? You can tweet your ideas to @burner on Twitter.

Turning Your Side Hustle into a Freelance Business

Do you love your side gig? Have you been dreaming about doing it full-time? Many people are. A study by LinkedIn showed that freelancers will make up nearly half of the workforce by the year 2020.

Once your side hustle is established and plugging along, you might be among the growing population of remote workers who see an opportunity to become a full-time freelancer. The good news is, you’re not alone. We’ve been freelancers, too—graphic designers, web developers, writers, and other professions. We know what it’s like to teach ourselves the trade on nights and weekends, pick up odd jobs when you can find them, and work overtime to juggle it all.

Those who have been through it know that making this transition can seem like a big, daunting leap. Going full time means giving up the security of a steady paycheck. But reaching this plateau can also be very exciting, as you can finally see the possibilities—and the potential freedom.

It takes courage to make the leap, but we know you can do it. So if you’re on the cusp and want to move into full-time freelancing, use this guide as a jumping off point. Below, you’ll find concrete ideas you can use to prepare yourself for the transition.

side hustle to freelance business

Get into the entrepreneurial mindset

Let’s start with the most important preparation of all—getting yourself into an entrepreneurial mindset.

There’s a lot of responsibility that comes along with the freedom of being a freelancer. Rather than punching a clock, you have clients or customers to serve. The only money that comes in will be the money that you earn from selling your products or services.

If this sounds scary, you’re right—it can be. But for those who really love what they do, the trade-off is worth it. We’ve never met a freelancer who didn’t think so.

Consider even the very history of the word “freelancer”, which comes from “Free Lances”. According to Merriam-Webster’s word history blog:


When freelance first came into English in the early 1800s, it was used to refer to a medieval mercenary who would fight for whichever nation or person paid them the most. Our earliest written evidence for this use (so far, that is) is in Sir Walter Scott's novel, Ivanhoe, where a feudal lord refers to the paid army he's assembled:

“I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances, and he refused them—I will lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders; thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will always find employment.”

So that’s what you have to be as a freelancer. A man or a woman of action who will always find employment. Raise your glasses to the bustling times!

Dedicate a space to work

dedicated office space for freelancers

Once your mindset has been fortified, the next thing to consider is your workspace. If you have a dedicated place for your work, it will be easier to get into the right frame of mind.

If your mind immediately goes to a fancy office with floor-to-ceiling windows, let us shatter that illusion right now. Many an entrepreneurial adventure has started from the couch or the garage. Keep things simple.

You’ll need somewhere stable, but it doesn’t have to be fancy. Your work space can be a tiny corner of your apartment, or an entire room that’s transformed into a dedicated office. What’s important is that the time you spend in your dedicated space is time you spend working, and nothing else.  Establishing that relationship—and clear boundaries—will make it easier to do your job.

If you work better outside of the house, you might consider investing in a desk at a local coworking space in your city. These days, freelancers can often work from anywhere. Having a dedicated workspace will simply improve your efficiency and outlook.

Nine essential tools for freelancers

Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty. Like any creative enterprise, building your freelance business will require certain tools. Mindset and workspace lay the foundation—beyond that, it’s time to get your hands dirty.

Over time, you’ll develop your own preferred set of tools. But we know that when it comes to software for freelancers, it can feel like there are just too many tools on the market to even make an educated choice.

We’ve used a lot of them, so here’s a list of the essentials, with recommendations for each.

1. Build your website

One of the first things a potential customer or client will do when they hear about you is Google you. A professional-looking website establishes a clear brand and helps make sure your freelance business looks legitimate to customers. A website can also function as a way for potential customers or clients to get in touch with you—in other words, it’s a source of new business.

It’s no secret that our website is built on Squarespace. It’s beautiful, and we’ve found it very easy to use and update. To make it look professional, be sure to purchase a domain name (e.g. yourname.com). You might also use Wordpress or Wix. All three can help you get started with very little investment other than your time.

2. Create a social media presence

The next most important aspect of building an online brand is to have a presence on social media.

Social media allows you to tell your story and have a conversation with potential customers. It’s a tool that you can use to engage with your customers about what your business does, what values you stand for, and why they should use your product.

Each social media channel has its own personality, so don’t feel as if you must be present on all channels. For quickly changing businesses or those that deal mostly in customer service, Facebook and Twitter are both great options. For product businesses, YouTube and Instagram offer creative ways to showcase the visual aspects of your content. Each channel also attracts a specific audience, so make sure to tailor the content you post to each social media site.

Social media is a great way to build your brand personality as well as find a community or following that is interested in your business. Our suggestion here is to pick one or two channels, and go deep on them. Social media can become a time suck, so try not to spread yourself too thin.

3. Get a dedicated business phone number

One of the biggest mistakes that first-time freelancers make is that they forget to create a separate phone number for their business. When you’re just starting out and you only have one or two clients, this may seem like no big deal—especially if they’re congenial clients and easy to work with! As your business grows, however, you will become harder and harder to keep your personal and business life separate.

We recommend keeping your personal phone number separate from your business phone number from the get go. A second phone number subscription from Burner (*waves*) comes with unlimited calls, texts, and pics for only $4.99—about the price of a latte each month.

This barrier will provide privacy and solace for your personal life when you need it. You’ll always know when the phone call is about work, and you can answer with more than just “hello” if you want to present a certain professional appearance.

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4. Get a designated business email address

A second email address is another tool that helps to separate your personal and business life. In addition to creating separation, a second email address also offers legitimacy to your business.

You can choose to get a second email for free from Gmail or Yahoo Mail, or you can purchase a more business-customized email for a small fee. A customized email will have your businesses name or domain name after the @ symbol instead of Gmail or Yahoo.

5. Open a business bank account

This isn’t as much fun to talk about, but it needs to be said—separating your personal and business finances does as much, or more, for making things official and getting you into the entrepreneurial mindset as any other suggestion we’ve made so far.

A business bank account not only makes sorting out your finances easier when it comes to tax time, it just makes it simpler to track income and expenses, and receive payments.

6. Set up an invoicing and time tracking system (if you need it)

If you’re in the service business or bill at an hourly rate, you may also need to find a good invoicing and time tracking software to track and bill for your work. There are numerous great options out there that come in a wide range of affordability. Our top three choices are Harvest, AND CO, and 17Hats.

Make a list of what you need for your business, and do the research. Don’t be afraid to invest a few bucks a month into software that’s going to save you tons of manual entry time. If you make receiving payments easy for your clients/customers, collections will be way less of a headache.

8. Use accounting software

Freelance businesses are usually small, so it might not take a lot of time to manage your books.  As your business grows, it will become more time consuming and you may want some help. After a few years, you may want to make the transition out of spreadsheets and into QuickBooks, for example.

Again, it’s ok to spend money to make your business run more efficiently and save yourself from having to do the jobs you don’t enjoy or aren’t skilled at. Once you set up the system, you can focus on what you love (and on making money). Whether you’re doing it on your own or hiring a bookkeeper, when you’re ready you’ll need to purchase accounting software. Other options include FreshBooks and Xero.

Accounting software makes managing income, expenses, and invoices easier. When it comes to tax time, you can provide access to your accountant who will take care of the rest. It’s also a great tool if you want to get more insight into the health of your business. You can run a Profit & Loss (P&L) statement in QuickBooks with a few clicks of your mouse. Keeping clean books leaves you more time to worry about doing good work, especially around tax time.

9. Use project management software

All freelancers wear multiple hats. From paying bills to finding clients to doing the work — it’s all up to you. Project management tools makes sure that with all these moving parts, nothing falls through the cracks.

Again, do your research and write down what your business actually needs. But when it comes to PM software, it’s usually best to try a bunch and just use your favorite one. There’s no right or wrong answer. The best project management software is the one you actually use.

Trello, Asana, and Basecamp all have free trials, or free-tiered accounts. Start there, and branch out if they don’t work for you.

Don’t forget to stay sharp

business education for freelancers

As an entrepreneur and freelance business owner, your time is precious. It can be easy to think that you don’t have time for ongoing education. That’s a huge mistake. Staying fresh and relevant is what will help you win. Continuous education will keep you nimble—it will give you an edge over the competition.

Business education can come in many forms: reading blogs and books, attending webinars, and listening to podcasts can all count as education! What’s important is to tune into what other people within your industry are talking about and watch what the most successful ones are doing.

Here are a few of our favorite business education resources:

Another arm of business education is attending conferences. These can be a double whammy of not only education, but also networking. Attending a conference that’s directly or indirectly related to your business can help you gain knowledge, meet new contacts who can advise or partner with you, and possibly even meet customers.

Seek strength in numbers

Many freelancers feel like they’re alone within a bubble—especially when they’re starting out—but that’s simply not the case. Creating a community of your own, or tapping into an existing one, will help you along during your journey.

Whether you find a mentor or join a professional group, it’s important to have someone to talk to. These people act as a sounding board, helping you to recognize bad ideas and to brainstorm good solutions when you’re stuck on a problem.

If you’re not sure where to begin, look on Meetup.com for groups that meet in your area. When you’re just starting the transition from side hustle to full-time freelancer, it can be intimidating to join one of these groups, but in general they’re supportive and eager to help people.

Turning your side hustle into a full fledge freelance business takes time—a suite of tools, a support network, and a lot of guts. Good luck out there!

Don't Get Burned Playing with Cryptocurrency and Blockchain

Burner’s focus is on delivering the best smart virtual phone number we can, but we think a lot about other aspects of mobile identity and privacy—it is, after all, our mission to help users take control of it.

Widespread interest in Bitcoin, and along with it, a whole range of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related technologies, is one of the most interesting developments in the technology community over the past year or two.  The promise of a decentralized internet, where we trust a large network of computers operating on the same protocols as a source of truth more reliable than centralized actors and governments, is intellectually exciting and full of promise.

But as with other technologies, this innovation has also created new challenges.  Cryptocurrency and its nascent markets are experimental and volatile—which makes it risky for lay-people.  And amid the genuine believers, the crypto scene has attracted a lot of people who want to make quick bucks as speculators or scammers.  It’s also full of unknown outcomes in everything from regulation to stability.

The folks behind Altcoin Fantasy (who are long-time friends of Burner) want to help, and have built a fun and educational tool to help new users understand how cryptocurrency markets work.  It’s basically a fantasy trading market, similar to a fantasy sports league, in which you can “paper trade” different cryptocurrencies to test out different strategies and see how you do. The winner gets a cryptocurrency prize, but more importantly, everyone gets a risk-free education and a chance to look before they leap into the risky real world of crypto.

We’re fans of the mission and think it’s a great way for users to get up to speed—safely.  In fact Burner is sponsoring this week’s prize.


If you’ve been bitten by the crypto bug, please consider checking this out.  For more information, visit  https://altcoinfantasy.com/p/burnerapp.

Use a Second Phone Number to Protect Yourself From Cyberstalkers

Nearly half (41%) of Americans have experienced harassment online—a 6% increase since 2014. An even higher proportion (66%) have been a witness to online harassment, according to a 2017 Pew study.

Whether you’re meeting people on dating apps, selling secondhand items on Craigslist, or Instagram famous, you may be putting yourself at risk of cyberstalking by sharing your personal information online.

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Though not everyone experiences cyberstalking personally, the problem is common, with 94% reporting they are aware of the issue. Only 5% of people consider online harassment to not be a problem, meaning there’s a large majority of people who would like this trend to change.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1 in 4 stalking victims also report some form of cyberstalking. That means that stalking in the real world transfers into cyberstalking 25% of the time.

On an individual level, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself from becoming a target.


Take action to protect your privacy online

The best course of action against cyberstalking is to be proactive. Protect your identity and information online to prevent a cyberstalker from getting ahold of your information in the first place.

There are some legal avenues to prosecute online harassment, but few cases actually make it to court. Over three years, 2.5 million cyberstalking cases were reported, but only 10 were prosecuted by the Justice Department. It’s important to protect your information from falling into the wrong hands, so you don’t end up with an online harasser.

Cyberstalking and online harassment appear to have become a part of our culture, and without significant change, are not going away. Proactive protection of your identity and personal information is the best way to avoid online harassment and cyberstalking. One of the best steps you can take is to limit the amount of personal information you share online, whether that’s on your social media channels or an online dating profile.


When you do share personal information, try to use email addresses and phone numbers that are disposable or changeable, and not attached to vital personal or bank accounts. That way, if someone decides to abuse the privilege of having your personal information, you have the power to discard that information without disrupting your personal life.

With the majority of email systems, you can create a new email address within minutes for free. If you’re making a dating profile, selling something, or creating an online brand, using an email that’s separate from your personal account can give you flexibility and protection from online harassment.

You can also create a second phone number with Burner. Instead of giving out your personal phone number—which is difficult to change—give out a Burner number. A Burner phone number can be burned anytime it’s compromised, and setting up an account is simple and inexpensive.

It’s also important to manage and be aware of what privacy settings you use on social media channels. To protect the personal information you choose to share on social media from being used to target you, make sure that your privacy settings are closed to strangers and people you don’t know. This won’t entirely protect you, but it will make it more difficult for people you don’t know from accessing your information.


If you choose to share your information publicly, be aware of what you’re exposing yourself to.

How Burner protects your privacy

As simple as it sounds, harassers can be deterred through methods such as a second phone number.

Burner can help protect your privacy in multiple ways. By giving out a Burner number instead of your personal digits, you have the power to get rid of a cyberstalker simply by deleting the number.

Burner is an app in your smartphone that’s simple to use. There’s no need to get a second device when you use Burner.

When someone calls or texts your Burner number, the call/text is rerouted to your phone without exposing your main phone number.

Take the Burner Challenge to see just how much of your personal info is already out there. Or do the research yourself by searching your name and phone number on Google and seeing how much you can pull up on your own.


For those who haven’t experienced cyberstalking personally, it might seem like something that you can just brush off. It might even seem like online harassment isn’t as serious as harassment that happens in person. However, those who have experienced it know how upsetting and draining it can be, and their fear is very real.

As we spend more and more of our lives online, being able to protect your personal information and rid yourself of a cyberstalker easily is very important. For just $5 a month with Burner, you can protect your personal information.

New Power Features and Quick Access Tools to Use Burner like a Boss

Today we’re releasing iOS 3.7.5, which continues to advance our mission to help protect your privacy and make your app experience as convenient as possible. In particular, much of this release focuses on utilizing iOS features, such as Siri and Force Touch, to give you quicker access to commonly used Burner app actions.

Change your app icon

Burner is all about privacy, and one of the things our privacy-focused users have asked for is the ability to change the Burner app icon.

We've heard from many users that they use Burner as a way to manage their personal safety and security in different situations. Now, if someone is scanning your phone or shoulder-surfing while you use it, they don't have to know any more than you want them to.

Try a more discreet app icon or one of our other fun alternatively-styled Burner icons (Main Menu → Global Settings → Change App Icon):


Force Touch for quick access to common actions

We are making use of iOS’s Force Touch feature to allow you to take a number of common actions without having to open the app.

When you receive an iOS notification that someone is texting your Burner, you can Force Touch (press down and hold) the notification to either (1) type and send a response or (2) mute that contact.

You can also now Force Touch the Burner app icon from your home screen to (1) quickly toggle Do Not Disturb mode on and off or (2) easily begin creating a brand new Burner number.


Use Siri for hands-free texting

You can now use Siri voice commands to send text messages from Burner with your voice.

Enable Siri and say, “Send a message using Burner” or “Send a message to [contact name] using Burner.” Siri will ask you what you want to send and confirm that you want to shoot off the text.

If you have more than one Burner line, you’ll need to open Burner and go into Global Settings to enable a default line for Siri to use.


Burner color options moved back to Settings

Finally, we’ve heard from a lot of folks since we moved the Burner color settings into the pull-down menu that it was hard to find in its new home.

We feel your pain, and today we’re taking your suggestion to move the Burner color switcher back into your Burner Settings. You can now find and change your Burner color/background image by tapping the Gear icon from the Inbox in Burner. The pull-down menu (Shortcuts) from the inbox still houses important actions, such as mark all as read and delete all messages.


Thanks for all the great feedback. Our users constantly improve our app, and we love hearing from you. Send an email to support@burnerapp.com if you have any questions, concerns, or further suggestions for improvement.

4 Simple Steps to Realizing Your Business Dreams

Many people struggle with feeling like their small business or side hustle isn’t official enough. Having a separate phone number can give you and your customers the seal of legitimacy that you’re looking for, as well as a dedicated line for customer or client communication.

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The booming gig workforce

According to a study completed by Upwork and the Freelancers Union, more than half of all workers will be freelancers by 2027. Millennials, the youngest generation currently participating in the workforce, are almost there already, with an estimated 47% of millenials working as freelancers. Even the Boomers are facing-down retirement by participating in the gig economy.

The gig workforce is growing rapidly and the trend shows no signs of stopping. Whether you’re growing your side hustle into something bigger, or you’re just now considering taking the leap, there are a few things you can do to make it easier on yourself.

1. Create a dedicated space for work

Whether you work from home, a co-working space, or the local coffee shop, the first thing I recommend new freelancers and entrepreneurs do is set aside a dedicated space for work. This makes it easier to get “in the zone,” and maintain a better work life balance (whatever that means to you).

Your workspace can be a desk, a table in your kitchen, or a specific section of your couch—all you need to do is make the decision that this is your work space.

Once you’ve set up your work space, dedicate any time you spend there to the business. When you’re in your “office,” it’s not time to watch Netflix or scroll social media. Focus on work.

Simple to say, but not always easy to follow.


2. Separate your personal life and business life

Once you have the workspace situated, the next thing to do is to create boundaries for your personal and business life that you can respect.

If you’re constantly on call and available to clients at all hours, your work is never really finished for the day. On the flip side, if you spend all day at home, you may find it’s hard to get work done. When your time is not managed correctly, this kind of behaviour will take a physical and mental toll.

So it’s imperative to start by setting boundaries. Start with the most ubiquitous communication system: your phone number.

By having a second phone number dedicated solely to your business, you’ll immediately find that it’s easier to focus. Using Burner, you can create a second line on the device you already have. Suddenly, you know which phone calls are work related, and which aren’t, simply by seeing which number is ringing.

Beyond that, you can create boundaries with other tactics, like a work email, dedicated work hours, email check-times, separate calendars, and more.


3. Beat imposter syndrome

Have you set your boundaries, but find them tough to follow? Are you frequently plagued by self-doubt, or think that the grass would be better “if I could just… (finish the sentence).”

Many small business owners and solopreneurs—indeed, most creative people—suffer from imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes, defined as people who struggle with internalizing their accomplishments, and have anxiety over being outed as a fraud.

I think that most small business owners and freelancers, as creative and independent people, have at some time felt like an imposter. There are many ways to combat imposter syndrome, but we believe that one of those is by establishing your business as legitimate.

A good first place to start is by creating a separate bank account. If you treat your money like a business, you’ll be on your way to feeling like a business. Since you already have a separate phone number (you do now, right?), you can take other steps such as registering with the state as an official business (i.e. “doing business as” or LLC), registering a domain name, and creating a business card.


Beyond that, look around and try to find a community of like-minded freelancers or entrepreneurs, either locally or online. Facebook groups are a great place to hang out with people like you from around the world. Chances are good that those people battle imposter syndrome, too. Having a support system will go a long way to combatting imposter syndrome so that you can get on with your work.

4. Autoresponders and call/text forwarders

As your business grows, you will need to have the flexibility to maintain a fast response time with clients and customers, even when your personal time is not available.

Burner allows you to do this in a few ways. First, text auto-reply can send a single text message to let someone know you’re away or not able to reply at the moment. If you need more complex autoresponders, the Evernote Connection provides additional sophistication.

If that’s not hands-on enough for you, you have the option to forward texts and calls to another phone number, or pipe them into a Slack channel.


No matter what delegation option you prefer, choosing the right phone number app with all the features you need is essential.

Whether you’re feeling the pressure as you’re starting up, or you just want to make things easier on yourself, implementing these tips can help you feel established and confident in your business.

If you create a dedicated office space, find your ideal work/life balance, face down imposter syndrome, and invest in a second phone number specifically for your business, you can begin to take steps toward your dreams and eventual success.

6 Ways a Business Phone Number From Burner Can Save You Money


As every small business owner knows, monthly expenses for software, tools, and subscriptions needed to run your business can add up quickly.

If you’re tired of spending too much for a landline you don’t use, paying for an extra device on your carrier plan (i.e. AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon), or if you’re just plain sick of the limitations imposed by Google Voice and other free phone number apps, Burner provides an affordable option for creating professional business phone numbers dedicated to work.

Instead of an extra $40 per month for a second line from T-Mobile, download the Burner app and get a fully-functional business phone number for a fraction of the cost.

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Share this infographic with your friends to help them save money on business phone numbers, too! Click here to share on Twitter or click here to share on Facebook.

1. No investment in extra devices

Save yourself the hassle of installing a landline or buying a second device. Traditional landline phones are disappearing from the workplaces of today, unless you’re running a large brick-and-mortar store or customer service center where you need dozens of phone lines.

Are you a freelancer? Is your business online? Do you work for someone else and simply don’t want to mix up personal and work-related calls or texts? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re a good candidate for a subscription Burner.

With a second phone number from Burner, you can choose your area code, set up a personalized voicemail or text auto-responder, and utilize Do Not Disturb mode for when you’re unavailable.

2. No need to hire a receptionist

With the custom voicemail and auto-responder, there’s no need to have a receptionist or assistant to answer your phone. Take calls when you’re available and the rest of the time, turn on Do Not Disturb mode and get back to callers at your convenience.

The voicemail and text auto-responder with Burner is ready to be personalized. You might choose to include your hours of operation, business address, event details, or alternate ways to contact you.

You can update and change your voicemail and auto-responder at any time, making it infinitely customizable.

3. Receive and respond to text messages

With a traditional landline, you’re missing out on one of today’s customers’ preferred ways to communicate: text messaging (SMS and MMS, which includes emojis, photos and animated GIFs). With Burner, you can receive and respond to your customers’ text messages from an app on your smartphone or even via Slack.


For some customers and small business owners, this is simply a convenience. Who wants to spend time on a phone call when you can send a quick text message instead? On the other hand, it also opens up communication lines for customers who may prefer texting to calling.

4. Have multiple numbers for separate purposes

If you’re interested in Burner for your small business, it’s likely that you’ll need more than just one phone number. Maybe you have multiple departments or employees who need to have their own numbers. No problem!

With Burner, you can have multiple phone numbers for your business. Each device that downloads the free Burner app can have up to three unlimited subscription lines for just $14.99 per line per month. Each device can also manage up to 200 non-subscription lines paid with credits.

If your employees need dedicated work numbers, encourage them to download Burner and create a work phone number with the same area code your customers use. Reimbursing an employee five bucks a month and giving them the work/life separation of a dedicated line will make them more productive, professional, and autonomous.

5. Integrate an FAQ chatbot

For those who are a little more tech savvy, consider creating a simple chatbot to respond to customers’ Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) by text message.

This chatbot can be created with the Evernote Connection on Burner. Advanced users who don’t mind a little coding can check out FAQbot for a slightly more nuanced set of auto-responder options.

When a customer texts your phone number and asks for the company’s address, your chatbot can automatically respond on your behalf with a preprogrammed message. How great is that?

For Airbnb hosts, we even created a specialized chatbot to answer guest questions, called Hostbot. Connect your Burner number to Hostbot and it will automatically respond to your guests’ questions, freeing up your time for other tasks.


6. Delegate and collaborate with your team

Finally, small business owners can be more productive with Burner by enabling the Slack or call/text forwarding options to delegate or collaborate with their teams.

Delegation is simple and works like the call and text forwarding functions that you’re used to. Simply set up forwarding in the settings of your Burner, and enter the number where you want your messages/calls to be temporarily forwarded.

As for collaboration, link your Burner phone number with the Slack Connection to allow your team to read and respond to text messages without leaving Slack or even needing to install Burner on their phones.

A second phone number with Burner costs just $4.99 a month. Create your number to get started today.

9 Ways to Protect Your Privacy When You’re Dating Online

Online dating has become the new normal. If you’re going to be looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right on Tinder, Bumble, or other dating apps, it’s important to take steps to protect your privacy.

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Between ride-sharing, secondary email accounts, and a second phone number from Burner, there are many tools at your disposal. The trick is to know how to use them. Following these tips will help keep you safe when you’re trying to meet new people.


1. Limit the personal information you give out

Start by limiting what personal information you give out by default.

Beware when giving out your home address, work address, personal phone number, or other identifiers.

You should also be careful not to share this information on your social media sites or elsewhere online. You never know who might search for that information, looking for you. If you’re not sure how much information is already available about you online, take the Burner Challenge.

In the beginning of a new online relationship, stick to the chat function within the app. When you’re ready to move to the phone (or if you just prefer texting), give your new acquaintance a Burner number. That way your personal number—and all the attached info about you—stays safe while you get to know the other person.

Once you’ve vetted someone and are relatively sure that they’re trustworthy, you can  consider sharing your personal phone number or additional private information.

2. Trust your gut

Your instincts are there to protect you, so it’s important to listen to them. If your gut is telling you to run for the hills, you have a few options.

First off, you can distance yourself from that person. Burner makes this easy. You can always Burn a number and grab a new one. Problem solved (at least on the phone calls and text messages front).

Additional measures can be taken if you decide it’s necessary, such as blocking a number or using Ghostbot to handle unwanted texts. Ghostbot is an intelligent auto-responder that helps you carefully distance yourself from a person sending you unwanted messages.


If you’re new to the online dating scene and you’re still honing your instincts, here are a few red flags to look out for—if you detect the other person doing any of these, it may be time to cut off communication:

  • Asking for personal information too soon

  • Insisting on meeting for the first time in a non-public space

  • Refusing to talk on the phone or do a video call before meeting in person

  • Making inappropriate jokes or advances

  • Lying about who they are, or other aspects of their personality or life

3. Set up second numbers and bogus emails

If you’ve decided that the person you’re talking to is safe enough to move the conversation outside of the dating app chat function, you still might not want to share your personal email or phone number with them.

We’ve already mentioned Burner for second or alternative phone numbers but you may also want to consider maintaining a secondary email account to share with potential dates. Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and several other providers will happily give you a brand new email account free of charge.

Even better, Google just made Gmail the most secure email provider on the planet.

As long as it’s not your personal email you’re giving out, you still have a layer of privacy between you and new people and you can always change the email address if it falls into the wrong hands.

4. Use your own transportation

As old-fashioned and adorable as it is to let your date pick you up at home, it adds risk. Not only do they know where you live, but if the first date goes badly, how will you get home?

Always have a plan B. In the day and age of ride-sharing and cell phones, there’s no excuse for getting in a car with a stranger. And always use a Burner number if Uber or Lyft (or other ridesharing app) drivers ask for a contact number outside of the app.

5. Use neutral party check-ins to stay safe

When you decide to meet your online date in person, set up a safety net, so someone knows where you are and when you’ll be back. Whether it’s your roommate, best friend, or mom, tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll check in (by texting or calling).

There are also apps out there that can alert emergency services or your trusted contacts, if you turn it on. Think of it like a panic button. There are many of these on the market such as Kitestring or BSafe.


As a last resort, if you’re in a public space, don’t hesitate to let someone know that you don’t feel safe. If your date is making you uncomfortable, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and notify the bartender, server, or other personnel that you don’t feel safe and need help to leave without making a scene.

Just knowing that someone else is watching out for you can make you feel more comfortable about making the leap to meeting people in person.

6. Do a background check

Catfishing and scamming are unfortunately becoming common issues in the online dating world. If something feels fishy, be sure to Google your new friend and look for some warning signs, as it’s possible they’re aren’t who they say they are. Ask yourself...

  • How many friends do they have on their social media account(s)?

  • Are those friends all men or all women?

  • Do they have multiple profiles on one social media platform?

  • Do they have profiles on multiple social media platforms?

  • Do they interact with friends online?

  • Use reverse image search to make sure their photos aren’t stolen from another profile

  • Look them up on Spokeo

  • Find out if they’re using a script to talk to you

  • Check to see if their profile images are altered

  • Confirm their IP address and email is connected to where they say they live

  • Look up public records such as marriages, criminal records, and property ownership

You can never be too careful. There are a lot of tools online for checking to see if someone is who they say they are.

7. Don’t just text

It’s okay to take your time early in a relationship to build trust.

Don’t just text, either. Why not try the old-fashioned approach and have a simple phone call with someone before meeting them in person? What about video calls? Surely someone who is being honest with you and likes you for who you are can’t refuse a simple request like that.

It can be a good screening mechanism -- if someone doesn’t want to show your their face over a video call or let you hear their voice over a phone call, they might be hiding something about their identity.

8. Don’t give out financial information

Just don’t. Anyone who asks for money should send up an immediate red flag for your finely honed gut instincts.

If you have good reasons to give someone money (for example, splitting a meal or movie tickets), use cash or a secure peer-to-peer payment app like Venmo.

9. Report or block them

Finally, if someone is trolling you or you don’t want them around, don’t be afraid to block them and report them if appropriate.


Most dating apps now have a function for reporting users who are scamming others or just being inappropriate. Reporting people isn’t only for you, it helps to protect everyone who is using the app.

As the digital world becomes an intrinsic part of our lives, it’s important that you take steps to protect yourselves. Using a Burner number is only one way, but it’s a good first step. Use these tips and trust your instincts to help protect your privacy when dating online.

Separate Your Personal and Business Lives With a Second Phone Number

In today’s world, automatic communication and immediate responses have become the status quo. With that expectation comes the feeling that we always need to have our phones at the ready to respond to any problem that presents itself, no matter how trivial.

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But do you really want to answer that call or text from your boss that comes in after hours on a Friday evening? Probably not at all.

And how about when your mom calls when you’re in the middle of a work meeting? Your boss would probably frown on you taking work time to talk to your mom about your weekend plans. So what’s a modern millennial to do?


One of the ways you can create some balance in your life is by getting a second phone number from Burner. You can use it solely for your work or business, and keep it separated from your personal life.

Whether you’re self-employed, an entrepreneur, a small business owner, or just want to create some distance between yourself and your co-workers, a second phone number from Burner might be the answer to your problems.

Burner business phone number productivity features

Burner is an app that lets you create one or more new phone numbers. It works just like any other phone number app, with all the functionality you’ve come to expect from a robust messaging system. Plus, it has additional features that help you create separation between your business and personal life, as well as protect your privacy.

When someone calls your Burner phone number, you can see which number they’re calling and immediately categorize the call based on which of your numbers shows up. If it’s after hours and you don’t want to take a business call, you know not to answer anything that comes in on your work Burner line.

But that’s not all. Burner has a whole host of features that help you to create additional separation and take back control of your life.

DND mode

One of the best features that helps maintain the balance between business and your personal life is Burner’s DND (Do-Not-Disturb) mode. DND mode can switched on at any point, so that any texts or phone calls your business number receives will go straight to voicemail, without any notifications.

With DND mode, you choose when you receive notifications, calls, and texts regarding your work. When you’re not open to talking to contacts, clients, or your boss, just switch on DND mode and deal with your messages later.

Set work hours

With DND mode, you can also set your work hours. Choose when you want to be available to your clients, set your DND schedule around that, and don’t worry about the rest of the time. You can even automate this with a tool like Zapier or IFTTT. By setting these expectations ahead of time and using Burner to reinforce them, you’re letting your clients, boss, and co-workers know when they can expect responses from you and when you’re not available to answer questions.


Another bonus that makes separating your work and personal life that much easier with a second phone number from Burner is the text auto-reply. You can create a message for your auto-responder letting people know when you’ll be able to get back to them, what your normal hours are, what your email address is, or anything else you think they might want to know.

Think of your autoresponder like an out of office response for your text messages.


Customizable voicemail

Not only can you create an autoresponder for your text messages, but you can also create a customized voicemail response.

Include any information you think your clients need to know and then you can relax, knowing that DND mode is taking care of your business calls and texts while you fully enjoy your personal life.

Choose your area code

For small business owners, it’s often very important to have a phone number that has a local area that matches where the business is located, so that your clients or customers know you’re local. With a second phone number from Burner, you get to choose your area code, and you can even have multiple numbers with different area codes. This is a great advantage for salespeople who may work in multiple districts.

Take back your agency with a second phone number from Burner. You choose when you want to be on the clock and are available to respond to business requests, and when you aren’t. You can even put your business number on your website and business card, and rest easy knowing that your personal number remains private.

Burner makes it easier for you to create separation between your business and personal lives.

Nomorobo for All! Stop Spam Calls and Telemarketers in Their Tracks

Robocalls and telemarketers continue to plague consumers. According to the Federal Communications Commission, Americans receive about 2.4 billion robocalls a month. In response to this trend, we partnered with Nomorobo and started providing complimentary robocall blocking to auto-renewing subscribers in January. Since then, we’ve filtered out over 200,000 robocalls this year.

Create Your First Number

Get unlimited calls, texts, and pictures on a private line!
Pick your number now.

But we know spam calls are only getting worse. To do our part in combating this increasingly common problem, Burner is now making Nomorobo available to all users on our platform—free trial numbers and credits-based temporary lines as well as auto-renewing subscription lines will now have access to Nomorobo at no extra cost.

No spam filter is better suited than Nomorobo to clear the lines of all Burner users of unwanted phone calls. Winner of the FTC Robocall Challenge, Nomorobo now has the most comprehensive blacklist of known spammers—560,000 and counting—and their system grows smarter each day.

We at Nomorobo are super excited that all Burner users are getting tools to fight back against the robocall epidemic.
— Aaron Foss, Founder of Nomorobo



1. Activate Nomorobo

To activate the Nomorobo Connection, navigate to the Settings of your Burner and activate it like you would any other toggle setting.

The Nomorobo Connection will get turned on by default for all new subscription Burner (auto-renewing lines with unlimited calls/texts/pics).


2. Robocalls and telemarketers are filtered out automatically

Robocalls and telemarketers are pre-scanned, and filtered out automatically. Those calls won’t ring to your phone.

Nomorobo works by cross-referencing the incoming number with “a MASSIVE database of known, illegal robocallers ... compiled with the help of the FTC, user reports, and [their] own honey traps.” Honey traps, also known as honeypots, are hidden security mechanisms designed to fool robots and other spammers (see Nomorobo’s FAQ).


3. View Filtered calls

If a call finds a match in Nomorobo’s database, it gets placed into the “Filtered” section of your call history.

If there’s no match, the call rings to your phone.


4. Whitelist non-spam numbers

If a call was Filtered incorrectly (or you believe the system made an error), tap the call and then select “Move to Inbox” to whitelist the number.

In the future, calls made to you from this number will ring to your phone.

If you have any feedback or questions about how Nomorobo works with Burner, feel free to email us at support@burnerapp.com.

The Nomorobo Connection is available FOR both Burner for iOS and Burner for Android.


8 Ways to Use a Second Phone Number Online to Protect Your Privacy

Every time you sign up for a new service or app, you’re asked to share your personal information. Sometimes that’s just an email, but often it’s so much more—phone number, mailing address, ZIP code, even social security number in some cases.

The more things you sign up for, the more likely it is that your personal information—and we mean all of it—will be up for grabs for whoever has the right tools to find it.

second phone number to protect your privacy

We want to open your eyes to just how often you share your phone number online, and how sharing such personal information can put you at risk. And that’s exactly why we put together this list of ways you can use a second phone number to protect your privacy online.

The first step to keeping your information private is being proactive, and making sure it doesn’t get out there in the first place.

Create Your First Number

Get unlimited calls, texts, and pictures on a private line!
Pick your number now.

8 situations where you should use a second phone number instead of your personal number

second phone number - online shopping

1. Online shopping

Often, when you place an order with a company online you have to give them your phone number. Why? We’re not sure. ‘Cause honestly, when was the last time a company called you instead of emailing you?

Next time you’re ordering that fidget spinner, or the quadcopter drone you’ve been dying to buy, and they ask you for a number, use a Burner and protect your privacy.

second phone number for side hustle or small business

2. Promoting your side hustle or small business

We’re big supporters of taking that side hustle you’ve been dreaming about for years to the next level. What better way to do that than to give your side hustle or small business its own phone number?

Now you can sell your products or services online without worrying about scammers accessing your personal phone number.

Post your second phone number to Etsy, take sales calls, answer customer questions via text. You can do it all with Burner and know that your personal number is protected.

second phone number for activism

3. Activism!

Need to call your senator? If you want to protect your privacy, now you’ll have a second phone number from Burner which you can use to call them. Also check out LobbyPhone, which is integrated with our platform.

second phone number for social media

4. Social media profiles

Whether you’re using social media for personal or business use, do you really want everyone that you connect with to know your personal phone number? There are a lot of creeps and trolls online. Protect yourself from them with a second phone number that you can discard anytime.

second phone number dating

5. Dating apps

Online dating is a great way to meet the love of your life.

But you may also run into a few unsavory characters along the way.

Protect your privacy by using a second phone number to give to people you meet online. Then if things go sour, you don’t have to worry about your safety or going through the hassle of changing the phone number you’ve had for years.

And if Mr. Persistent won’t let up, we have a utility called GhostBot to help you distance yourself safely.


6. Selling on Craigslist or eBay

Next time you’re cleaning out your closet and starting a new life of minimalism while selling everything on Craigslist and eBay, protect your privacy by using your second phone number.

Create a temporary Burner, put that number in the listing, and burn it when you’re done.


7. Sign up for (more) freebies

Want to sign up for the free trip or signed book they’re giving away? Do it! And now you don’t have to worry about giving away your personal phone number.


8. SMS Bots

If you’re using an SMS bot to recommend new comic books, quit smoking, or whatever it is you’re doing to make yourself a better human, you can now protect your identity while doing so.

The tech savvy go-getter among you might also be interested in the Burner API, which can be used to make SMS bots of your own devising, as well as automate other necessary functions and has OAuth 2.0 built into it for authentication through Burner.

Using a second phone number helps you to protect you online by helping keep your personal information private. Don’t broadcast your personal phone number all over the web. Instead, use Burner to get a second phone number.

How do you use your second phone number to protect your privacy online? If you haven’t signed up yet, download the free iOS or Android app to get a 7-day free trial!

Second Phone Number For Your Wedding: How to Get One and All The Great Things It Can Do

second phone number for weddings

Create Your First Number

Get unlimited calls, texts, and pictures on a private line!
Pick your number now.

From caterers to party planners to guests and the officiant, when you’re planning a wedding, everyone seems to need your phone number. A second phone number that’s dedicated specifically to planning your wedding can be a huge advantage.

And it’s easy to do.

To get your second phone number, just sign up for the Burner app, create a new phone number, and begin sharing it.

If you want to keep it simple, that’s all you have to do. But if you’re interested in using some of the many features available exclusively through Burner, you might be surprised to find that it will make planning your wedding a whole lot more fun.


Know who’s calling and why

With a second phone number from Burner, you know that a call from an unknown number is about your wedding, not your work or personal stuff. In fact, you can have as many lines as you want. Knowing who is calling and why makes it easier to choose which phone calls to take and which to ignore.

Instead of finding yourself at work talking about wedding flowers and centerpieces, you can confidently let the call go to voicemail and get back to it later.

Each time you meet a vendor, give them your second phone number and rest assured that your personal number remains private.

Protect yourself from spam lists

Whether you’re signing up for mailing lists to look for a good deal on a wedding dress or just checking the availability of your local caterer, you’re likely going to have to give each person your email and phone number.

Creating an email address and phone number pair specifically for your wedding will help to protect your personal email and phone number against the inevitable spam vortex.

You can, of course, get new phone numbers through us. Free services like Gmail make it easy to sign up for extra email accounts, which you can forward or link to your main email account for convenience.

Your email and phone number are valuable assets—one that not everyone will treat with as much care as you do. It’s not uncommon for people to sell your personal information for their own gain. Taking extra precautions such as setting up secondary email addresses and phone numbers will make unplugging later, after the event, much easier.

second phone number with do not disturbn mode

Peace of mind with custom voicemail and “Do Not Disturb” mode

With a second phone number from Burner, you can create a custom voicemail greeting that has all the information your vendors might need, including time and date of the wedding, a good email to reach you at, and when you’re available for calls or planning to respond to texts.

You can also set the number to Do Not Disturb (DND) mode. When this setting is turned on, phone calls will go directly to voicemail and not ring through to your phone.

Instead of receiving phone calls throughout the day on your personal or business phone number about your wedding, you can let all of those calls go to voicemail. When you’re ready to answer questions or call people back, you can do so at your leisure.

Create an info hotline

As with a custom voicemail, a savvy auto-responder will save you time and energy by providing common info that you know your wedding guests will need.

As the date draws closer, create a second line or convert your vendor line into an “info hotline” by setting up a custom text auto-responder that tells people what to bring, where you’re registered for gifts, or the time and place of the wedding. If you have a wedding website, you can link to that in the auto-responder. That way, when guests text you a million questions, you don’t have to spend your time responding to the same queries over and over.

When you send your invitations or create your wedding website, include your second phone number from Burner and give your guests that ability to reach you and your information hotline (you can use the same number for both).

You can always add more information to the text auto-responder as you receive new questions, and change the voicemail to offer new information as it gets closer to the big day.

Finally, if you’re ready to be a Burner master, you can turn your second phone number into a chatbot using the Evernote Connection. With a little bit of setup, you can create an even more sophisticated smart auto-responder that’s programmed to answer guests’ most frequent questions.

Everything from “what time does the ceremony start?” to “how do I get to the venue?” can be answered contextually through text messages. You can always hop in to respond manually if a question is unusually phrased or completely unique.

Keep your big day stress free

You don’t want to have to worry about answering the phone or answering questions on one of the most important days of your life.

With a second phone number from Burner, you can keep your big day stress free a few different ways.

Your text auto-responder and voicemail can be set up to give out all of the information about the ceremony that guests might need.

You can also set up call forwarding. Instead of calls ringing through to your phone and stressing you out, they can be automatically forwarded to your wedding planner or maid of honor / best man, so they can take any vendor calls or questions that come through.

Either way, instead of answering call and texts, let your Burner delegate for you.

second phone number for wedding photos

Gather well-wishes and photos in one place

A second phone number from Burner is a great way to build a collaborative photo album and message thread of your big day, or even create an “audio guestbook.”

Instead of a hashtag on social media, have your guests send the photos they take and their well-wishes as text messages to your Burner line. You can archive photos and voicemails to the cloud with Dropbox, and save photos as well as text messages with Google Drive. By the end of the night, you’ll have a beautiful collection of images taken by all of your friends and family that you can treasure forever.

The “audio guestbook” idea can be setup easily with Burner’s SoundCloud Connection. Just activate it on your line, then have your loved ones at the wedding (or even those who couldn’t make it) call and leave voicemail messages for you that you can save and cherish forever. Savvy audio users could even create a highlight reel to share with family later!

However you want to use your second phone number from Burner to make planning your big day a little bit easier, we know one thing: it’s going to be a beautiful wedding.

We’re always so happy to hear our customer’s stories and just how they’re using Burner. Let us know in the comments or through an email just how Burner has made it easier to plan your wedding.


Calling for Change: Meet John Emerson, the Creator of LobbyPhone


LobbyPhone is an SMS bot you can text to get a short list of your representatives and their phone numbers. It’s a great, fast way to get in touch with your national and state representatives. It takes just a couple minutes and doesn’t require an internet connection. Try LobbyPhone by texting (520) 200-2223 with your zip code or postal address.

John Emerson created this tool to provide Americans with quick access to the people they elected, so they could call and voice their concerns any time. He wrote about his inspiration and process for the project in more detail on his blog.


Create Your First Number

Get unlimited calls, texts, and pictures on a private line!
Pick your number now.

LobbyPhone SMS tool for calling your reps

Text LobbyPhone your address and it will text you back your reps

Burner + LobbyPhone

Since LobbyPhone’s release last year, we’ve been working with John in two ways.

First, we moved the text message system over to Burner’s infrastructure to lower his costs to provide the service.

Secondly, we built a web app to allow you to use his tool to look up your reps, and then save them to your Burner contacts. If you don’t have Burner yet, you can create a free sample when you use LobbyPhone. You can try it at go.lobbyphone.com.

We sat down with John to reflect on the tool’s impact and what’s next for him.

On Getting the Word Out

Lex: How did you get the word to people when you first launched LobbyPhone?

John: The original inspiration for the bot was a post on an email discussion list of progressive techies. I put together the initial bot in a day and announced it to the list. The response was super enthusiastic and people asked if they could share it. They started sharing it on Facebook even before I did and it just kind of grew. People were sharing it within their networks, particularly around the time of the confirmation hearings last year. It was interesting to see it go through different social circles: there was a young adult novelist who tweeted it and then a couple of other novelists in that circle retweeted it. Then a couple celebrities tweeted it. I saw these two enormous spikes of activity. I was thrilled when I was getting 10-20 people texting the number a day. I thought wow, I built something that people are using. But at its height it got 22,000 texts in a single day, which was extraordinary. This is also when I was still paying for it all out of pocket so it was a bit of a panic.

Lex: Oh no! It’s too effective!

John: Right, right. The good news is people love your product — the bad news is people love your product! I sent out a crowdfunding appeal to friends and family and the response was amazing. I had never passed the hat like this before. Then I was able to secure an 800 text number from Plivo which allowed me to put the URL [of the GoFundMe] into the outbound texts. Suddenly people I did not know personally were contributing to defray my costs. Donations ranged from five dollars to two hundred dollars. Total strangers left comments on the GoFundMe page like, “This is great! I love this!" It was really an amazing outpouring.

LobbyPhone on the Web

LobbyPhone on the web - find your reps online

“It's just shy of half a million texts since I launched it which is amazing to me.”


On LobbyPhone’s Impact

John: Mostly, I think people have been using it for federal contacts but a couple state level campaigns have been using it as well. There was a Humane Society action in Alabama I saw on Facebook. They were using it for people to contact their state reps. At the national level there’s a Capitol Hill switchboard number you can call to reach your reps but the same thing doesn't really exist for every state.

Once I got an email from the wife of a state legislator. She said, "Can you please take our home office number off of your system? We're getting all these calls at all hours of the night." At that point, I switched the state API from Google Civic to OpenStates which had the correct number to use. But you know, I never knew if people were actually making the phone calls so this was actually a confirmation of that. It’s not how I wanted to do it, but it was good to know nonetheless.

I also heard from a state legislator in Texas whose ranch was at the edge of an unusually shaped district. He was getting the wrong info from the bot so I tweaked the code a little bit and got it working. He was thrilled and said he was going to send [the LobbyPhone number] to all his constituents.

Since then, it's been a nice steady hum. About 100 people a day are texting the number for the last month or two. Other tools have come up since I launched, like Resistbot which lets you send a fax via text number so you don't actually have to call anyone, and CallParty which works on Facebook Messenger. LobbyPhone is just shy of half a million texts since I launched it which is amazing to me.

Lex: Why do you think your SMS bot struck a chord so strongly with people?

John: I don't know. It’s not hard to find contact info other ways. There’s always that guy on Facebook who points out, "Actually, you can just Google it." But LobbyPhone removed a step and you get the numbers right on your phone. It’s personalized. It's free. It was novel.

LobbyPhone in your Burner contacts

When you use LobbyPhone with Burner, you can save them to your Contacts


“This kind of low tech service has had a resurgence. As smartphones are getting smarter and faster, texting has become more popular.”


On What’s Next for LobbyPhone

Lex: I know you're quite involved in the civic tech space. Have you thought about other ways to engage people with LobbyPhone?

John: Yes, I have. I think one of the reasons why it's particularly popular is there's no commitment. You're not signing up to get a daily action. It's not telling you what to do. It's more of a utility. The advantage of that is that it’s very flexible. Different people can use it for different campaigns. The downside is that I'm not sure where else to take it. I looked into building a Facebook Messenger version, but this already exists. I'm not keeping people's information so I'm not using this to build a movement. That's one possible direction, but I would set up a different system to do that.

When LobbyPhone was at its peak volume and running up my costs I was desperately looking for a non-profit to take it over. I talked to some folks but they wanted to keep people’s info to build their lists. It's a funny sort of dance and it never quite came together.

On What’s Next in Civic Tech

Lex: What’s next for you in the civic tech space?

John: Independent of this project, I have some other ideas for text services. Text is a great way to interact with people that are not always on the internet. Service workers or caregivers, for instance. I worked with a NGO that works with the Nepali community in New York City. Their members are not in front of a computer all day and may not own a desktop computer. But they have their smartphones and there's a lot of word of mouth. I’d love to build tools for communities like these, either for specific campaigns or kind of a crisis text line. I'd love to do more help lines, more mass mobilization, or more utilities. It's funny that this kind of low tech service has had such a resurgence. As smartphones are getting smarter and faster, texting has become more popular.

You can find John on Twitter @backspace and on his website at backspace.com. You can find LobbyPhone at lobbyphone.com or by texting your address to (520) 200-2223. If you’d like to donate to the project, you can still do so at gofundme.com/smsbot.

If you’d like to use LobbyPhone with your Burner number, you can go to go.lobbyphone.com. You can also create a Burner number from there after you find your reps.


Your Feedback in Action with iOS 3.6.2

Here at Burner we’re always looking for your thoughts on the app. Today’s iOS update, which introduces three small but important changes, is a direct result of that feedback.

Burner 3.6.2 has improved phone number visibility in the Inbox, a redesigned Settings view, new number expiration warning banners, and a few other performance enhancements.

Phone Number Visibility

Your Burner numbers are now shown in the header of the Inbox, or main screen within Burner's apps.

Tap it to copy the number to your clipboard for easy sharing via text, email, messenger apps, or social media.

Copy number in Burner 3.6.2

Number Expiration Warning Banners

Burner expiration warning

Secondly, you now have more visibility into upcoming Burner expirations with warning banners in the Inbox that let you know when a line is low on minutes, texts or about to expire.

Burner Shortcuts

Pull Down Actions

We’ve also expanded our shortcuts. Pull down on the Inbox (drag your finger toward the bottom of the screen) to change your Burner color or add a background image. You can also "Copy number," "Mark all as read," or "Delete all messages" from here.

Redesigned Settings View

Finally, we’ve given Settings a fresh coat of paint and consolidated it to a single screen. More customization, fewer taps.

Core Settings
Under this subheader, you’ll find important functionality like rings, notifications, voicemail greeting, and caller ID.

Burner Settings on iOS

Try a new Connection and get more out of Burner! Archive texts and contacts, save pics and voicemail, block spam calls, create an auto-responder bot, and other useful tools.

Advanced Settings
Use these Settings for call forwarding or to set up an auto-reply to texts.

Thanks to everyone who has submitted feedback about Burner on iOS. We hope these improvements make your experience more enjoyable.

Let us know what you think about the updates by leaving a review on the App Store or by texting feedback to (310) 919-5060.

Streamlining Messaging and Upgrading the Inbox with Android 3.6.2

Old Inbox (Left) and New Inbox (Right)

Old Inbox (Left) and New Inbox (Right)

We’re excited to share our latest Android release with you, Burner 3.6.2. We’ve made a lot of improvements to streamline the most commonly used parts of the Burner app.

This update makes the Inbox cleaner, offering you a view of all your messages at a glance. Messaging is much more fun and legible. And the new Settings screen makes it easier to customize your Burner with fewer taps.

Upgraded Inbox

The new Inbox view features:

  • More visibility into Burner expirations with banners that let you know when a line is low on minutes, texts or about to expire

  • A condensed message view so you can see more of your incoming texts and calls at a glance

  • The ability to change your Burner color by dragging down on the Inbox (we call them "pull down" actions). You can also mark all messages as read or delete them all here too.
Burner messaging in action

Streamlined Messaging

We’ve punched up the contrast of the message bubbles for easier reading. Your contact photos are also included so you can tell who’s talking.

Redesigned Settings

The Settings screen has been redesigned to make it more clear how you can set up your lines. We’ve also renamed some of the options you see here:

Core Settings
- Important functionality including rings, notifications, voicemail greeting, and caller ID

Burner settings on Android 3.6.2

- Try a new Connection and get more out of your Burners. Archive messages and voicemails to Google, respond to texts on Slack or crowdsource voicemails for your podcast.

Advanced Settings
- Richer control over how you receive calls (with in-app calling and forwarding)

Thanks to everyone who has beta tested, answered our questions, and submitted feedback about your experience with Burner. We hope these improvements make Burner more useful.

Let us know what you think about the updates by leaving a review on the Google Play Store or by texting feedback to (310) 919-5060.