A “burner phone” is a cheap, prepaid mobile phone that you can destroy or leave when you don’t need it. In popular media, criminals often use burner phones to avoid detection by authorities.
Burner Phone: Everything you should know!
You can use the burner phone as a last resort or during an emergency for privacy reasons. A “burner sim” is a related term, and refers to a cheap, prepaid SIM card that you can insert into another phone. You can only use the SIM card for a limited time and do not associate it with your actual identity.
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What is a Burner Phone?
A burner phone is a cheap, prepaid mobile phone that the owner generally does not intend to use for the long term. These phones have traditionally been purchased with cash to avoid any kind of paper trail, which would tie a phone number to a person.
The term was popularized in the hit 2002 HBO series The Wire, where “burners” were used by authorities to avoid detection. Once a number is suspected to be compromised, the device was discarded or “burned” so that the scar would cool.
Since the rise of iPhones and Android devices, burners are commonly referred to as “feature phones” or “dumbbell phones”, as today’s smartphones did not exist in the early 2000s. While the term “burner phone” is still common, SIM cards can also be used in this way.
Instead of buying a completely new device, a burner SIM can be used in a smartphone to switch between numbers for a number of reasons. Some smartphones can accommodate more than one SIM at a time for this purpose.
Keeping this in mind, some applications of a burner phone depend entirely on having a second dedicated device that you can use.
Why would you use a burner phone?
You can use a burner phone or SIM to protect your identity. If you can manage to buy a handset or SIM card that is not linked to your real-world identity, you can use the risk number without identifying it.
There are all kinds of reasons why a person wants to remain anonymous. You may be calling an employer in an anonymous tip. You might want to use a secure messaging service like Signal or Telegram without revealing your primary phone number.
You may be trying to avoid giving your main phone number to marketers who will send you follow-up messages – such as when you’re looking at real estate listings or insurance quotes.
Since burner phones are feature phones, they are severely limited in their capabilities. Most lack access to cameras or modern browsers and are instead limited to phone calls and text messaging.
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Since they are relatively lightweight devices, they also have excellent battery life. Many such devices last several days on a single charge, and sometimes even months if you reduce battery usage.
This makes the burner phone ideal for use in emergencies. They are often found in emergency survival kits because they can be charged and locked until needed. A burner phone is a spare phone with a long battery life that does not require an expensive cell phone plan – what is not to like?
A burner does not guarantee anonymity
If you are buying a burner phone for privacy reasons, proceeding from sending unethical signal messages or using numbers to avoid spam, keep in mind that no cell phone offers you true anonymity.
It’s about your “threat model” – are you trying to protect your privacy?
Just think about the process of taking a burner phone from the store. Suppose you go to a store, buy a burner phone with a credit card, drive home and turn it on.
In the process: If you carry your normal phone with you, your cellular carrier will know that you were at the store when the phone was purchased. License plate cameras on the route have captured your license plate and your movements can be recorded.
A camera in the store may have recorded you buying the phone. Your credit card company will have a record of purchasing the phone. When you turn on the phone at home, the cellular carrier using your phone will have a very good idea of your home address.
And if you move your burner phone and normal phone at the same time and both are turned on, then anyone looking at cellular phone records can get a good idea that those phones belong to the same person.
Yes, there are many ways by which you can be detected by an adversary with serious resources. If you’re really trying to avoid government officials – well, good luck. You will need it
On the other hand, if you want a new phone number, which is directly and easily linked to your identity by the companies you deal with and the people you don’t fix. And if you’re not looking for anonymity and just want a secondary cell phone with long battery life for use in emergencies, then it doesn’t really matter.
Where to get a burner phone or sim?
It has been said that all along, you may be wondering where you can get a burner phone or SIM. Convenience stores and electronic retailers will sell prepaid SIM cards and burner phones.
Walmart, Best Buy, Target and other similar stores will have a good selection of cheap devices or sim-only plans that allow you to call and text, and not much else. You can often buy prepaid SIM cards from corner shops like Drugstores like 7-Eleven and Right Aid.
You should expect to pay between $ 10 and $ 50 for a cheap burner, depending on the features you want. Plans start at around $ 10, but ultimately, it depends on your intended use.
Most burners are used solely for texting and calling, and any additional features on top of it (touchscreen, camera, etc.) may be surplus to waste of necessity and battery life. The Nokia 110 is a simple 2G feature phone that talks for up to 14 hours on a single charge.
The BLU Z5 is priced similarly and even has a camera. Nokia 1.3 is one of the most “advanced” cheap handsets, although it will cost you around $ 100 and runs Android 10.
If you are really looking for anonymity, then how far you want your shopping to go is up to you. You can ask someone else to buy it for you, or ask them to buy you a gift card, which you can use to buy the phone.
You can also use cash in person. For anonymity, you probably want to avoid using your credit or debit card, so shopping at an online retailer is probably not the best idea.
If you are only there to throw in a survival kit to buy a burner or to keep it in the car for emergencies, you can comb the web for the best deals without worrying about the privacy implications. Amazon, eBay or your favorite local service provider are great places to start.
What about Google Voice and other services in a Burner Phone?
If you are simply looking for a second number that you can use to call and text from a computer, or to use with a service like Signal or Telegram, consider VoIP services.
Google Voice, Skype, and other Internet telephony providers can give you a number that you can use for basic texting and calling. Google Voice only U.S. Works in, but signing up for it is free and easy.
You can register a new Google account to use with your new number and take precautions like hiding your IP address using a VPN. Other providers exist, but they will charge you for a number (and may need to link your card).
Burn After Reading XD!
If you are using a burner for privacy reasons, make sure that you take the appropriate steps to remove your identity from your purchase.
If your interest in a burner is solely for emergency or backup use, make sure you charge the phone before charging it (and consider an AA battery charger).
Wondering how you can charge your burner while away from the power outlet? Learn to charge your phone from anywhere. If you are wondering how the police have dealt with this incident in the past, consider watching The Wire.
For the most part, we buy phones to keep them for as long as possible; However, sometimes people buy “burner phones” for short-term use. So, why are people buying phones with the intention of not using them for a long time?
Let us take a look at the concept of burner phone, and how you can use it in the future.
Features of a Burner Phone:
A burner phone, sometimes called a “burn phone”, is when someone buys a cellphone that they do not want to use for a long time. The buyer will usually get a prepaid phone that carries a credit load, which they can deal with whenever they please without worrying about ongoing contracts.
When someone buys for a burner phone, they usually look for the cheapest deal that offers the complete basics. Phones with 4G and touchscreens are fantastic, but these feature increases in price and do nothing special for burner phones.
As a result, burner phones are typically cellphones that look like models from the early 2000s; As long as it can make calls and receive text, it is perfect for the job.
5 honest reasons to use burner phones:
Typically, burner phones are associated with shady jobs. Criminals buy a burner phone, use it to carry out illegal actions, then get rid of it before the police can find out. However, there are a lot of legal reasons that owning a burner phone is a good idea.
Remove spam messages from your main phone
If you are a long-time owner of a smartphone, then you will know how annoying spam is. Once marketers place your phone number in their database,
they start sending barrages of unwanted texts and robotic calls to encourage you to purchase everything from new windows to compensation for injuries.
Fortunately, a burner phone gets around this problem. When you need to supply your phone number to sign up for a service, you can give them your burner phone number.
Then, when your burner phone starts ringing from the hook, you can either swap the SIM card, switch it off until you need it, or get a new one.
It is also useful when you want people to call you when you are selling something. For example, if you are selling a car or a house, after the sale takes place you can give a burner phone number and get rid of it.
Travel to another country without roaming charges
When you go abroad, it is a good idea to have a cellphone in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, some SIM carriers do not play ball with other countries, either paying very high roaming charges or no data.
However, you can avoid these problems by using a burner phone. Before traveling, grab a cheap phone and load it with a SIM card compatible with a carrier at your destination. You can then use this phone to call businesses and taxi services within the country, without any hefty bills.
Take your phone to dangerous places
Does the concept of climbing a mountain with an expensive iPhone or Samsung in your pocket make you feel uncomfortable? Do you want a phone call on your person during your boating trip, but hate to imagine what would happen if you capitalized?
Leave your expensive phone at home and grab a cheap burner phone that you can bring along with your adventures. That way, if it falls into a ravine or becomes submerged, you can change it without making a dent in your bank account.
Protect your main phone from theft or seizure
A burner phone is a great idea if you think someone can steal, break, or go through your phone. That way, if someone confiscates your phone, all you lose is a cheap phone that has no idea.
For example, if you want to get a bit thicker, you can use a burner phone. This makes your phone less attractive to steal, and if someone takes it, you lose very little. Likewise, if you plan to go to a protest, you can never be certain how violent things will get.
In the past, protesters have lost phones while trying to record incidents, either from the public or disarmed members of the police.
The police can also seize the phone to go through its data. If you are on your burner phone, however, you can happily surrender your phone without worrying about your privacy.
Stop dating creeps from contacting you
You found someone you like and you want to go a step further, but you are worried about giving your phone number. After all, what if this person becomes toxic and uses your number to stalk or harass you?
How to get a burner phone
If you like someone who has swapping numbers with possible flings, give them a burner phone number. You can still use the burner phone to make text and calls, although the WhatsApp menu may be off.
Regardless, if they don’t become a perfect match for you, you can dig up a SIM card or phone while keeping your trusted contacts safe on your main phone.
So you are interested in getting a burner phone, but the question is: where do you get a burner phone? It is easy to find the most expensive, attractive phone that money can buy – just watch for advertisements. Finding a phone around the $ 30 mark, however, is a bit tricky.
Reuse an old phone
Before you rush to buy a new phone, try opening the dreaded “old electronics” drawer. If you are an avid smartphone user, there is a good chance that you have an older model that you had long ago.
Take it out and check if it is still on. If this happens, order a SIM card for this. If the phone carrier is off, make sure that the SIM card matches the network