January 20, 2021

Treating your phone number like an email address

Written by valeria


In a Forbes article published last February, BeyondTrust CTO and CISO, Morey Haber, outlined the different security reasons as to why you should use at least four different email addresses for all your personal uses. The premise was simple: If one address should get breached or compromised, you don't stand to lose access to everything that it's linked to, as you have three others with their own separate access to different accounts (one could be used for banking, the other for shopping sites, social media profiles, etc.) It's a compelling and easy enough to follow argument, but we want to take it one step further. If you can---and should---have multiple email addresses for different uses, why can't you do the same with phone numbers?

phone number

The Myth: You need to pay for another phone number‍

One of the biggest myths---largely propagated by early big-name carriers---is that in order to open up another line or get another phone number, you either have to pay for the extra line or outright set up a new phone with a new plan and its own phone number. This has largely been proven to be untrue for the past decade, mainly due to VoIP services such as ourselves that provide a phone number for free through an app.

Simply by heading over to TextNow.com or downloading the app on your mobile phone or tablet, you can sign up for an account and register for your very own phone number in under a minute. You can even choose the area code for your number, to make sure it stays local to you and your needs. From there, you can use that number to make calls, send texts, even set up your very own custom voicemail, all within the TextNow app.

‍The need(s): Why have a second phone number

‍Almost everything these days requires an email address for verification/identification, so it only makes sense to have multiple addresses for different services, and/or sites. But surprisingly, more and more services are also requiring a phone number, or at least offering it as a secondary identification option. Adding one for extra security is one use case I'm sure many of you will find necessary.

But the real need comes in when you consider things like dating, starting a side business, selling or buying online, or even job searches. If you're dipping your toes into the online dating world and met a potential match who'd like to take the conversation away from the app and into your phone, why not give them a second number instead? If the match flops, or starts going south, you can easily block them (or even change your number), with the peace of mind that they don't have your primary phone number. If you're one of the 28% of Americans who picked up a side business last year, separating your personal life from your business one can be a major struggle. Opening up a second phone number that can be used exclusively for any business inquiries can help build that separation, as well as keep your costs low---in this case, at $0---for your budding business. And of course, putting up items on Craiglist or Facebook Marketplace for sale can trigger a barrage of either irrelevant, scamming, or straight-up harassing messages, alongside the ones you actually want to respond to. Using a second phone number that won't jeopardize your primary one can help the process feel safer, and a lot smoother.

So there you have. All the reasons why you may want to look into getting a second (or more) phone number, with many more reasons---I'm sure---to be had. Got any questions? Leave them in the comments below, and we'll answer them!