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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

How to Call Anonymously: Ways to Hide Your Identity in 2024

Krista Reyes Cybersecurity Researcher

While anonymous calls can be associated with illicit activities, there are many legitimate reasons for hiding your identity when calling someone. For example, you might want to return a call you received from an unknown number but don't want to reveal your identity or information.

You may also use anonymous calls to submit reports to law enforcement or government agencies while protecting your standing as a private citizen. Whatever your reason — as long as it's ethical and legal — it's useful to learn how to call anonymously. The good news is that I researched and compiled all the ways you can do so in 2024. So, without further ado, let's dive in!

Understanding digital privacy and anonymity will help you set boundaries depending on your priorities. Our guide on online anonymity can help you take the first step.

How to Make Anonymous Calls with a Caller ID

There are several ways to keep your identity hidden while calling someone. One of the easiest is by using lines or services that are not connected to your personal information. These methods are better for one-time or temporary communications, as they often involve disposable hardware or accounts. Here are your options:

Through a Payphone

Payphones are useful if you want to hide your identity from the person you’re calling but don’t mind revealing the number. Payphones are straightforward because you can easily select a phone, make a call, then walk away. While the receiver can try to call the number back, they won’t be able to trace the call back to you.

Image of a payphone inside a blue and silver boothMost payphones are old-fashioned telephone lines, which makes them prone to breakage or malfunction

The only problem is that payphones are rare nowadays; you might need to travel some distance to find a functional one.

Through a Burner Phone

Like payphones, burner phones will most likely display a caller ID, but there won’t be any way to trace the number back to you. The main difference is that you can buy them from most big-box or convenience stores.

Burner phones are not locked in network provider contracts, so there’s no paper trail tying you to the number you get. Plus, they are prepaid with a limited number of minutes for calls. Once the load runs out, you can buy more minutes or “burn” the phone by destroying or discarding it.

Also, a burner phone will allow you to send anonymous texts. So, if you’re planning to wait for a response, a burner is a great option because you have more control over when to discard the number.

Through VoIP

If you don’t know where to find payphones near you or don’t want to buy a burner phone, you can use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). It’s a technology that uses the internet to transmit voice calls.

Not all VoIP apps allow users to call anonymously, and some will even require you to register using an existing number tied to an official phone carrier. But many other services offer clear-cut ways to mask or hide your identity while calling someone. You may get a private virtual number that’s not connected to your personal information and use it to place local or international anonymous calls.

However, remember that some VoIP services limit whom you can communicate with, so be sure to check if it lets you exchange calls with people who aren’t subscribed to the same app or platform.

PRO TIP: Use a VPN to stay protected while making anonymous calls online. Check out our list of top 5 VoIP VPNs.

How to Hide Your Caller ID During an Anonymous Call

You can take your anonymity one step further by hiding your number from the person you’re calling. There are several ways to go about this, and we listed them all below:

Using Prefixes

More technically known as vertical service codes (VSC), prefixes are number and/or symbol combinations you can use to activate or deactivate specific phone features. Some prefixes allow you to mask your caller ID before you hop on a call. Simply add the code to the beginning of the number you want to call, and it will automatically hide your number from the receiver.

Image of a smartphone dialer app, with a person typing *67*67 is one of the most widely used and popular prefix codes

The prefix you need to use will depend on your location and phone service provider. Here are the common codes that hide your caller ID:

Prefix Country/Service Provider
*67 United States (except AT&T), Canada (landline), New Zealand (Vodafone)
#31# United States (AT&T), Canada (mobile), Australia (mobile), France, Germany, Israel (mobile), Italy (mobile), Spain (mobile), Netherlands (KPN), Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland (mobile), Greece (mobile), South Africa (mobile), Albania, Argentina (mobile), Bulgaria (mobile)
*31# Germany, Switzerland (landline), Argentina (landline)
1831 Australia (landline)
3651 France (landline)
*31* Netherlands, Iceland, Greece (landline), South Africa (Telkom), Romania
133 Hong Kong
*43 Israel (landline)
*67# Italy (landline)
184 Japan
0197 New Zealand (Telecom or Spark)
*9# Nepal (NTC)
*32# Pakistan (PTCL)
*23 or *23# South Korea
067 Spain (landline)
141 United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland
Does *67 work on cell phones? Yes, it does! This code works on most US landlines and mobile phones as long as you have a compatible service provider.

Using Phone Settings

While using prefixes is handy for keeping your caller ID hidden, it’s not foolproof. If you forget to input the code before making a call, your number is immediately exposed. To prevent this, you can hide your caller ID by default using your phone’s settings.

On Android

  1. Open the Phone app.
  2. Select the menu button (three dots in the upper-right corner).
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Scroll down and find the Call Settings category.
  5. Choose More settings.
  6. Click on Show my caller ID.
  7. Select Hide number.
REMINDER: Settings and options may look slightly different on Android, depending on your smartphone’s model. If you don’t see the labels above, try exploring similar options. For instance, More settings in Step 5 may appear as Other settings or Additional settings on some phones.

On iOS

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Phone.
  3. Scroll down, then tap Show My Caller ID.
  4. Click on the toggle button to turn the function off.
Photo of an iPhone displaying the Show My Caller ID setting, with the toggle button turned offCaller ID is disabled if the toggle is white and on the left side
Some carriers won’t allow you to conceal your caller ID by default. In those cases, you can contact your network provider and have them hide your number for outgoing calls. Just visit your carrier’s website to find their customer support hotline or email address. You may also ask your carrier if you can purchase a private number with a limited number of minutes.

Using Google Voice

Google Voice offers users brand new US phone numbers for calling, texting, or leaving voicemails. It allows you to sync communications across smartphones and the web, transcribe voicemails, automatically block spam, and forward calls to any device. But for the privacy-conscious, one of its more attractive features is how easy it is to make anonymous calls.

You can conceal your caller ID for all calls made through Google Voice. When you make this your default setting, it applies to all devices using the same Voice account. This ensures you won’t accidentally reveal your number when placing a call using a different device.

You’re eligible for a Google Voice account if you’re either of the following:

  • US-based Google Account owner
  • Google Workspace customer based in the US, the UK, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, or Denmark
TIP: You can use the prefixes discussed above if you only want to temporarily hide your Google Voice caller ID for a specific call.

Here’s how to permanently hide your caller ID on Google Voice:

On Android and iOS

  1. Open the Google Voice app on your device.
  2. Tap the Menu ≡ icon in the top-left corner.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Toggle on Anonymous caller ID under Calls.

On a Computer

  1. Open your browser and go to https://voice.google.com/.
  2. Sign in using the Google Account linked to your Voice number.
  3. Go to the page’s top-right corner and click on the Settings ⚙️ button.
  4. Select Calls.
  5. Toggle on Anonymous caller ID.

How to Text Anonymously

Anonymous texts are handy if you expect multiple responses from the person you want to contact. Also, it allows you to extend your communication beyond just a few minutes or calls. To send text messages anonymously, follow the steps below.

On WhatsApp

WhatsApp doesn’t come with a feature to hide your account ID, which makes it hard to message someone anonymously. Still, you can contact someone without revealing your identity. You only have to use a number that won’t allow the other person to identify you. You can use any line that’s not saved on their contact list, but it’s better to use a brand-new number to reduce the chances of them tracing the call back to you.

Image of the WhatsApp loading screen displayed on an iPhone held by a personWhatsApp works on iOS 12 and newer versions

Using a Virtual Private Number

  1. Find a virtual private number provider online and generate a temporary number.
  2. Open WhatsApp and register using your temporary number.
  3. Wait to receive the verification code from your virtual private number provider.
  4. Enter the code on WhatsApp and finish setting up your account. Make sure you don’t enter any personal information that could identify you.
  5. Follow the instructions depending on your device’s operating system:
    • For Android: Tap the message icon ? in the lower-right corner.
    • For iOS: Go to the Chats section and tap the new chat icon ? in the top-right corner.
  6. Select the person you want to message from the list or create a new contact.
  7. Type your anonymous message and click on the send button.

Using a Burner Number

  1. Purchase a burner phone from your nearest convenience store or supermarket, such as Walmart.
  2. Open WhatsApp on your smartphone and register using your burner number.
  3. Wait to receive the verification code on your burner phone.
  4. Follow the same steps 4–7 as described above.

Using a Payphone

If there are no payphones near you, you can also use home landlines. But remember that landlines are often tied to user accounts kept by phone carriers, so they can be traced back to you if you use them for WhatsApp.
  1. Find the number posted on the payphone. If you can’t see it, call your personal phone using the payphone and note the number.
  2. Open WhatsApp on your smartphone and register using the payphone’s number.
  3. The verification will fail if you don’t enter the code after a few minutes. When that happens, it will offer the option to call the number. Select Call.
  4. Wait to receive the verification code via call on the payphone. Then, follow the same steps 4–7 as described above.
CAUTION: While popular instant messaging apps like WhatsApp promise end-to-end encryption, it only applies to messages, as user data is stored on private servers. This means that information could be hacked or turned over to authorities. For more secure and private messaging platforms, check out our picks for the best WhatsApp alternatives.

From a Computer

Many free websites allow you to send anonymous texts. Here are the common steps:

  1. Find a reliable, free text service online using your desktop browser.
  2. On the site, choose a destination country and/or enter the phone number of the person you want to text.
  3. Type your message, and click Send Text.

Most services only let you send single messages with no opportunity to receive responses. Some will allow you to leave your email address to get replies, but remember to avoid entering your real email address to prevent phishing scams or other cyberattacks. Instead, you can create a temporary address through secure providers or use online email address generators.

CAUTION: Be vigilant when using free services online. Websites may ask for your contact information in exchange for using their platform. In some cases, the catch is that your data may be compromised or used to fuel phishing scams and other cyberattacks.

To prevent such incidents, avoid giving any personal data, such as your name, birthday, and address. Also, consider using a temporary email address.

Alternatively, you can email a phone number with these steps:

  1. Create a new email address using a secure provider like Proton Mail or Tutanota.
  2. Go to https://freecarrierlookup.com/ and enter the recipient’s country code and number.
  3. Copy the SMS/MMS Gateway Address into the To section of your email.
  4. Type your message in the email body and tap the send button when you’re done.
Graphic showing the instructions to find the gateway address of a mobile number using an online serviceFor some carriers, the SMS and MMS gateway addresses are identical
The best way to protect yourself from both malware and cyberattacks is by combining antivirus and VPN packages. We recommend Norton Secure VPN with Norton Security. The Norton Security Deluxe Plan already includes the antivirus suite and Secure VPN.

How to Protect Yourself from Scam Callers

While there are many practical uses and benefits to making anonymous calls, they can be used for illicit activities, such as scams or phishing attempts. To protect yourself against these attacks, follow the tips below.

1. Don’t Disclose Personal or Sensitive Information

“Don’t talk to strangers” is a saying that still rings true even with adults today. Scammers have many creative ways to get you to give details you wouldn’t normally share with people you don’t know.

Some gimmicks include pretending to be an agent from your bank and asking for your account and card details. Other times, someone may try to trick you into believing you’ve won a prize for a raffle. They would then ask you to send your bank information so they could deposit your winnings. In both examples, the key is to never give them information unless you’ve verified their identity.

2. Avoid Taking Calls From Unknown Numbers

It’s better to ignore unknown numbers if you’re not expecting a call or can’t think of why anyone would need to call you anonymously. Remember that financial, governmental, or other official institutions wouldn’t need to contact you through unknown or blocked numbers.

It’s no longer easy to recognize legitimate calls, as scammers have learned to use voice-to-text synthesizers or recorded messages to make the call sound more trustworthy. So, picking up the phone could open the door for scammers to use heavy social engineering tactics to manipulate you into performing certain actions. These may include providing personal details, divulging bank information, or wiring money to strangers.

Conclusion

In this highly digitized world, anonymity has become an almost relative concept. Information exchange boundaries are defined by how much you value your privacy and security, and your threshold may differ entirely from the threshold of the person next to you.

Still, there are many merits to learning how to hide or protect your identity when calling or messaging someone. This is especially true when you need to share or confirm sensitive information without compromising your safety. That said, it’s important to use our technical knowledge ethically and responsibly so that we contribute to making the digital space safer and more productive.

Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

About the Author

Krista is a vpnMentor writer with a diverse background in content writing and editing. Her main interests include digital privacy and sociopolitical awareness, which are materialized through her research and written works.

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