‘Burner’ app gives you temporary, disposable phone numbers


by Doug Delony / KHOU 11 News


Posted on August 10, 2012 at 7:48 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 10 at 12:43 PM

HOUSTON—If you’ve ever sold something on Craigslist or had to do business with someone you didn’t want to have your real phone number, there’s a new iPhone app for you.

It’s called Burner, as in, you can burn the number once you’re done using it. It’s only available for the iPhone right now, and it's not free. The $1.99 price tag, however, includes your first temporary phone number.

Each number comes with a limited amount of use time. Once it expires, you can pay for more time or delete the number and pay for a new one. It even supports voicemail and texting.

The app’s maker, Ad Hoc, didn’t immediately release the technical info on how the app works.

What about the bad guys? There are obvious concerns Burner could be used for prank calls and scams. Perhaps even worse, cheating spouses could use it to hide their secret lives.

But the service isn’t entirely anonymous. Ad Hoc’s privacy policy says, “As permitted by law, we may also disclose personally-identifiable location information without a user’s consent in an emergency situation...”

How can you find out if someone on your phone plan is hiding something with this app?

Here are a few tips:
1 -- Look over your Apple account billing history for a list of all downloaded apps (even the free ones show up)
2 -- Look over your cell phone bill; if there’s a sudden drop in usage on the real number, that might be a red flag
3 – Lastly, check your credit card for charges from the Apple App Store that you didn’t authorize or weren’t expecting

On the web: http://www.burnerapp.com