privacy

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Working the Election? Phone Banking? Get A Free, Unlimited Burner

Today we announced that we are making Burner numbers available free of charge, on an unlimited-use basis, for all people who want them for the purposes of getting out the vote or otherwise supporting the election.

Thanks to all those working this important election season from Burner.

Thanks to all those working this important election season from Burner.

I'm beyond proud of how the Burner team dove into action on this, which all started literally yesterday when we read that the NYTimes was making itself free for election coverage and thought, "what a wonderful idea -- we should do something like that too".  In the course of half a day, the team spun up and shipped this, and we're all happy to share it.

I hope you will join me in sharing to social media channels, friends, and relevant influencers and politicos who might be interested.  As I am sure you know, turnout will be a key driver of the outcome of this election at the top of the ticket and down-ballot -- as will the work of those out there helping ensure fair and legal voting procedures are followed.  

No one should have to compromise their own privacy to do this kind of work, and we've actually had a number of requests for bulk numbers for electioneering.  This is now available for everyone -- and if using Burner helps a few people out there be less reluctant to participate in our great (if occasionally crazy) democracy, we will consider this a home run.

Thank you so much for your work.

Click here to get a free Burner number for Get Out The Vote & Election volunteers

Introducing Burner 3.0 for Android

We’re excited to announce that we’re launching a brand new look and feel for Burner on Android! This is our biggest design update for Android and builds upon a ton of feedback that we’ve heard from customers. The goal is always to make Burner the easiest way to stay in touch with people without compromising your personal information or phone number, and we think Burner 3.0 does just that. Here are some of the highlights:

Unified Inbox

Managing more than one number in Burner just got much easier! With the unified inbox you can view and respond to all of your recent conversations from different Burner numbers in one place. To help you stay organized, we now give each of your Burners a unique color, so when you’re viewing conversations quickly in the inbox, you know exactly which Burner someone is contacting you through. If you ever need to go through your older messages, or you only want to view the messages on one of your Burners you can easily filter by that Burner and view your entire history.

Material Design

Again, this is our biggest design update for Burner. You’ll see the use of colors, animations and transitions throughout the app, fully embracing material design principles. Navigation and design patterns should feel familiar and blend right into your workflow with all the apps you love!

Android Wear

We know that our customers are busy, managing work and personal lives and anything we can do to make Burner more accessible when you’re on the go is huge win! Burner now supports use with your smartwatch so you can quickly view your notifications and messages and respond in an instant with voice commands.

Stay tuned

This is just the beginning of a ton of new features that will be coming to Android so stay tuned and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to get all the latest news!

 

MainStreet.com - Burner: When You Want to Keep Your Private Cellphone Number Truly Private

We have all been there. Maybe you are filling out an online form requesting price quotes from multiple car dealers. Perhaps you are selling your departed granny’s treasures on Craigslist. Or maybe you are signing up for a dating site and who knows about the people who may respond. All such moments involve a request for your phone number. What do you do? 
Read the full article at Mainstreet.com

Burner on Airows's List of Cool Gadgets & Apps to Protect Your Privacy

Burner made Airow's list of gadgets and apps for the wishful 007.

If you’re like us, you hate giving your number out. We don’t want to get calls or texts from people we don’t know. Burner has the perfect solution for people like us – they give you a disposable phone number that you can text or call from and you can use it as long as you’d like. When you want to get rid of it, just “burn” it.

Read the full article on Airows.com

Chris Messina on "unlisted" and "burners" as a mainstreaming interaction model

Burner came out of the idea that people needed better ways to manage their identity in different situations. But Will and Greg also wanted to make it a simple and intuitive product.

This great piece by Chris Messina puts a lot of context around why "unlisted" and "burner" identities makes sense -- and why we should all get used to these concepts 

Read the full article on MEDIUM here