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Like the Girl at the Bar, Use a Fake Phone Number. Here’s Why – and How

By Matthew Kaufman June 13, 2024
Girl at the bar

Guys, think back to your younger days: did a pretty girl at the bar ever give you a fake number?

If so, what was she doing? Protecting herself, essentially.

Take the same mindset with your own mobile number and you’ll find yourself giving out your real cell phone number a lot less frequently.

From a data security standpoint, that’s a very good thing. Here are two ways to do it:

Fake Phone #1: The old landline

This number is for those businesses or websites that never actually need to contact you.

Think about it: does the grocery store really need your mobile phone number?

The answer is a resounding “no!”  All they need for you to get your points and your savings is a way to identify you. The same goes for the buy 9, get the 10th free sandwich shop, your dry cleaner and a bunch of other service providers you can probably think of.

Do you remember your parents’ old landline, the one from the house you grew up in?

Use that number for these types of entries – the ones that have no business contacting you, ever.

“Fake” Phone #2: Google Voice

I put the word “fake” in quotation marks because this tactic makes use of a tool that is a reliable Voice Over IP (VoIP) phone number.

Why? Because sometimes, although you don’t want to give out your real cell phone number, you know texting with a particular service will either be mandatory or beneficial. Some examples:

  • Restaurant reservation apps
  • Ticketmaster or similar apps
  • Airlines or hotels for status updates

…and many more.

Well, if you have a Gmail account, you already have a simple solution at your fingertips: Google Voice.

Every Google account comes with the ability to set up a free phone number via this service. If you’ve ever called someone and heard the “Google Voice will try to locate this subscriber for you” recording instead of a ringtone, you’ve called one of these lines.

But nothing says you must use the Google Voice phone or voicemail capabilities. Here’s how to use it as a fake phone number when you will need to do a little texting:

  • Sign up for a Google Voice number
  • Download the Google Voice app
  • Disable all phone calling capabilities

Then, you can simply use the app as a secondary text messaging service. Most of you have “junk” email addresses – maybe an old Hotmail or Yahoo account – that you use to sign up for all manner of things online. Just think of this as doing the same thing for growing list of services that request your phone number at signup.

It’s quick, costs nothing and will help protect your primary mobile number from unwanted traffic going forward.

This fake phone number advice has turned out to be very popular at our recent speaking engagements so I wanted to share it here as a public blog post.

Now, all you have to do is take 5 minutes to set it up!

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