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If you need a new, separate phone number, but just temporarily, a new app is answering the call. The Burner iPhone app can create disposable phone numbers at an initial price of just $1.99.
The real-world applications are practically endless: Just think of all those times when you don't necessarily want to give out your "real" phone number. In fact, Ad Hoc Labs Inc., which created Burner, touts the app as being "Perfect for dating, job searches, short-term projects, Craigslist transactions," and social media accounts.
Here's how the Burner app works:
Once you purchase and download the Burner app, it comes with enough "credits" for one "burner" phone number. That number is set to expire after 20 minutes of voice time, 60 text messages, or after seven days, whichever comes first. You can also "burn" or get rid of the number any time before then.
You can also buy more credits to keep your Burner phone number alive, or to buy new Burner phone numbers. The company offers different types of options at varying prices.
The Burner phone number will ring to your iPhone. You can set up incoming calls to go to your voicemail, or to an anonymous Burner voicemail account. You'll also be able to reply to texts and calls using your Burner number.
This app may come in especially handy for family law practitioners. Remember how Katie Holmes used a burner cell phone to plot her split from Tom Cruise? Well, had Katie used the Burner app instead, it could've saved her the hassle of getting a disposable cell phone.
Of course we can think of potentially unlawful applications as well. After all, those drug dealers on HBO's "The Wire" used "burner" cell phones as a way to evade law enforcement.
Though Ad Hoc Labs insists its Burner app allows you to "never reveal your real number," it remains to be seen if it can beat forensic science when it comes to tracing the source of a call.