Safe Dating Tech

burner-app-screenshotSafe Dating Tech: a reader asks…

I’m a woman re-entering the dating scene after a long time. I’m using these dating sites and services, but am a bit concerned about the potential for creeps out there. I know enough to get a separate email account so bad dates can’t troll me, and to create separate social media accounts. But don’t know what to do about cell phone and text messaging and don’t want to have to have a second phone. I would like to have a phone and texting service that nobody can trace back to me, and that I can throw away (and get another) without a lot of hassle. Any suggestions?

There are plenty of virtual phone services that you can use, but it sounds like there’s one that’s perfectly tuned to your needs. It’s called Burner App, and it installs on your current smartphone as an app. There are two ways to pay for this service, either with pre-paid minutes or with a time-based subscription. I would suggest the monthly subscription for 1 number (at a time) for $5/month.call-bliss-icon

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This service lets you create a phone number to give out to dates (or anyone). When they call that number, it’s forwarded to your regular cell phone number, but they see the caller ID for the number they called. If you don’t answer, the voicemail goes to your burner app voicemail, which you access using the app (separate from your regular voicemail). At any time you can change to a new number, and the old number no longer works.

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When texting, you use the burner app instead of your phone’s SMS/iMessage texting app. That keeps your anonymous texts separate from your other text messages. Burner App is used by people who want a measure of anonymity in their communications, including folks selling through Craigslist.com or eBay, as well as daters or anyone who doesn’t want their identity known when calling and texting.

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You should be aware that if you already have a social media profile that includes a picture of you, then you should be wary of dates wanting to snap selfies with you (or just take your picture), and using your own image on dating apps and services. It’s not too hard for someone to take a picture of you and match it up with your real social media profile. Same for if you use your real name, or share any personal details about your life. Lots of daters do online searches to find out about their prospective dates, and you don’t want your real identity to be easily found.

The nicest thing about the Burner App is that you can try it out (using pre-paid minutes) and see if it fits your needs. If you don’t like it, don’t renew. You can also do that with the monthly subscription, except you have to take action to cancel it if you don’t want to continue. All-in-all, this type of service is becoming more and more useful for anyone wanting a bit more anonymity in their life

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