What Is a Burner Phone, and When Should You Use One?

You’ve probably heard of a burner phone if you’ve ever seen a movie or TV show about modern society’s criminal underbelly. While Hollywood may portray burner phones as exclusively being utilized by criminals and other nefarious characters, they can also be beneficial to law-abiding citizens.

What Is a Burner Phone?

Burner phones are often low-cost, no-contract, prepaid phones that may be thrown once they are no longer required. Burner phones are used by criminals in series like Breaking Bad and The Wire to avoid discovery by the authorities. The name “burner” refers to the idea that once the phone is no longer needed, it can be “burned” along with the rest of the evidence.

Burner phone breaking bad

Burner phones are frequently confused with “dumb” phones. These are phones that don’t have all the bells and whistles of the most up-to-date iOS or Android devices. While you won’t be able to do nearly as much with a burner phone, removing features such as Internet access and touch screens can help you save money (not to mention increase the battery life). However, there are lower-cost cellphones that can serve as a burner phones – it all depends on what your burner phone will be used for.

Dumb phone

While, as previously said, burner phones are associated with criminals, there are genuine reasons why law-abiding people might desire to use one as well.

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Use a Burner Phone for Privacy

Privacy is one of the most obvious uses for a burner phone. After all, that is why so many TV criminals employ them. However, in today’s world, everyone, criminal or not, can profit from a little privacy. In today’s hyper-connected world, getting a cheap phone with a SIM card that isn’t tied to your identity can provide you with some anonymity. This can be handy in a variety of situations.

Phone anonymous

If you use dating apps, for example, you may not want to give out your primary phone number – at least at first. Give your match your burner’s phone number instead. If things don’t work out, you may just throw away the phone and say goodbye to that awful match for good. Another scenario is that you wish to conceal your true identity. This doesn’t have to be for sinister purposes; you might give an anonymous tip or act as a source of information.

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Burner Phone for Emergencies

Dialing emergency services (such as 911 in the United States or 000 in Australia) does not require an active service plan in many countries throughout the world. This means you can call for support with any phone, regardless of whether it has a SIM card or not. However, in order for your call to be successful, network coverage is required.

Use for emergency

Additionally, in the event of a natural disaster, you may want to keep a backup phone on hand. Tornadoes, floods, and wildfires are all examples of extreme weather occurrences that can leave you without electricity for long periods of time. Many current smartphones struggle to last the entire day on a single charge, leaving you without a way to communicate.

Because many burner phones are “dumb” phones that lack many of the bells and whistles found in today’s smartphones, their batteries last substantially longer. Dumb phones have a long standby period and hundreds of hours of talk time. If your smartphone dies, having one on hand could save your life. So go out and get a cheap phone, charge it up, and keep it in your first-aid box.

Use a Burner Phone to Avoid Spam

Unwanted phone calls and texts have been the basis of numerous profanity-laced rants. You won’t have to worry about spam inundating your primary phone if you have a secondary burner phone. If you have to provide your phone number for a service, such as a house hunting, there’s a good chance it will end up in the hands of shady marketers.

Use for spam call

Perhaps you need to post your phone number on an online marketplace like Craigslist to facilitate a sale, but you don’t want just anyone to see it. In these cases, a burner phone can protect you from robocalls and other forms of spam.

Alternatives to a Burner Phone

If you don’t want to purchase a new phone, you might just get a second SIM card. When you insert the second SIM card into your primary phone, you are given a new phone number. The “burner” SIM might then be used to avoid spam or persistent Tinder matches who refuse to heed a hint. When the SIM card has served its purpose, just discard it and replace it with your regular SIM card.

Phone sim card

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Conclusion: Burner Phone

Alternatively, you might use a program like Burner. You can give out a secondary mobile number created by the app. The Burner program reroutes calls and messages delivered to that number to your main number. This safeguards your personal information and guarantees that it remains confidential. If you have an Android phone, these apps can help you get a virtual phone number.

Have you ever used a burner phone? What did you use it for? Let us know in the comments!

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