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Get a disposable phone number with the right apps

Your mother always told you not to talk to strangers, right? These days, however, there are times we have to call people we don’t know. Whether it’s a blind date, new business partner or just selling a couch online, the phone is still the preferred communication method.

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It’s not safe to give out your real number to just anyone. Luckily, these apps create a second phone number you can distribute. You can turn off or disconnect the number when you stop needing it and your real phone number will still be safe.

Burner ($2; iOS) – This app starts you off with a number that lasts 7 days, 60 texts or 20 minutes of call time. Texts don’t count against your monthly bill. When the number expires, you can buy credits to extend it or buy a whole new number.

The app allows you to permanently delete – “burn” – any number at any time. This takes it out of the service and permanently deletes it from your phone.

Vumber (Free app, paid service; iOS, Android) – Instead of allowing you to create numbers on the fly, Vumber has you pay a monthly fee (starting a $9.95/month) for a second number with 1,200 minutes. You can add extra numbers or long distance to dozens of countries, too.

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