Kathryn's Blog

Protecting your phone number

Boy oh boy, I just love ingenuity.  Whenever someone figures out a problem, a solution is not far behind.

Going from email to the phone is a natural step for singles meeting online.  I usually suggest using email to get to know each other before moving too fast to the reality of voice and/or face-to-face meeting.  But while caller ID has for the most part been a real boon to our privacy (see my blog piece on obscene phone calls), when we want to protect ourselves when making calls (ie we don’t want our real names connected to a phone number and geographical address), it’s gotten harder. 

While I never use caller ID blocking (I guess I don’t care who knows I am calling), apparently it’s about universal now (in the USA anyway) that you can block your phone number from appearing on your recipient’s caller ID by punching in *67 before dialing your call.  Great, except you need to remember to do it.

(BTW, in the same spirit of protecting your identity and privacy with online dating, always use dating sites that route your emails through their site and strip of electronic identifiers.  Most sites, especially the big ones, offer this service, but be sure to check.  Also, if you regularly use a signature box in your emails [at the bottom of your emails that automaticly gets added with your name and contact information], you need to be VERY CAREFUL that that info does NOT get included in your early communications with possible dates.)

So here are (via mySanAntonio.com) two Internet businesses that are coming up with solutions to the privacy and caller ID problem:  PrivatePhone.com (operational now) and Jangl.com (up for business around the first of 2007).

I went ahead and joined PrivatePhone and tested it out.  Here’s the best part: FREE!  They must start charging at some point, but I sure do like free.  I’ll bet you do too.

1.  Go to PrivatePhone.com and click on the “dating” tab at the bottom.  Then just identify your state, area code and city, and you will be issued your own private phone number.

2.  Easy sign up—just your email address, then pick a sign-in name and password. 

3.  Then you get instructions for setting up your voice mail account.

Callers to your private number get sent right to your voice mail message.  You get notified by email that a call has come in.  You can check your voice mail online or on the phone.

Now, apparently, this solves the problem of the phone number you give out to others.  But it does not solve the problem of you placing calls.  Guess you’ll still have to remember to dial *67 if you want to block your number from showing up.

Jangl.com is not up and running yet, but it looks worth following.  I can’t quite tell from the website what the service will be specifically, but it looks like it will enable you to give out private phone numbers, screen calls, and then arrange another number that both parties call to connect. 

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord



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