Want to make a phone call without revealing your real identity? There are several ways you can do this, ranging from using a throw-away phone to restricting caller ID settings permanently on your smartphone. But what if you just want to make private, anonymous calls occasionally, without purchasing a special phone for it? Here are two solutions.
Use a Caller ID Blocking Prefix
In most countries, with most service providers, you can prefix the phone number you are dialing with a special code. With the code in place, the recipient of the call won’t see your phone number. Instead, the caller ID information will read “restricted” or something similar.
Here are the codes to use in various countries:
- North America – *67 or #31#
- Albania, Australia, Denmark, Greece, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway: #31#
- Argentina, Iceland, Switzerland, South Africa: *31*
- Germany: *31# or #31#
- Hong Kong: 133
- Japan: 184
- UK and Ireland: 141
- New Zealand: 0197 (Telecom) or *67 (Vodafone)
- Australia: 1831 or #31#
- India: *31#
If you dial this way, you may need to enter a “1” after the blocking prefix and before the area code of the number you’re dialing. For example, to call the number (202) 123-4567 anonymously in the U.S., you would dial *67-1-202-123-4567.
Bear in mind that the service providers of both your phone and the recipient’s phone may still be able to identify you. This method of anonymous calling is only reliable if you don’t want the call recipient to know your identity.
Make a Google Voice Account
Google Voice lets you make and receive phone calls from your computer. Depending on which country you are calling to (not from), the calls may be free. Calling to the U.S. is free.
You can choose your own phone number when you set up a Google Voice account. This is the number that will appear on a recipient’s caller ID. You have lots of area codes to choose from, so you can appear to be located wherever you like.
In theory, setting up a Google Voice account, like other Google services, requires giving Google personal information. But it’s easy enough to make a Google Voice account using spoofed personal data that you make up. So if you want to make calls privately, this is a workable solution.
This won’t work as well if you need to call to a country where Google Voice is not free. In that case you will need to set up a payment method for Google Voice. Of course, you could use an anonymous credit card for this in order to stay private.
Google Voice lets you forward your calls to a real phone. But it should be obvious that you don’t want to do that if you don’t want Google to be able to associate your account with your actual phone number.