What is a Burner Phone, and When Should You Use One?


If you’ve ever heard the term “burner phone” and been curious about its meaning, this is the article for you.

Criminals often use “burner phones,” or throwaway mobile phones that are not trackable, as shown in TV series like The Wire and others.

A burner phone is essentially a low-cost feature phone to make and receive calls and sending and receiving text messages. For this purpose, the device doesn’t need to include all of the bells and whistles found on a typical smartphone.

What Exactly is a Burner Phone?

A burner is a cheap phone that people buy with cash to remain synonymous. Once the phone is purchased, prepaid credit is added so that it may be used to make calls and send text messages. In most cases, people use cash to buy prepaid cards.

The word “burner” refers to the gadget because it is simply discarded after the number has been “burned,” meaning it has been known to law enforcement or is no longer safe for the criminal to use.

The offender then discards the gadget, thus the name “burner,” making it difficult to track the device’s last known location.

What are the Uses of a Burner Phone?

A burner phone may be useful; in certain situations, you may choose to avoid disclosing your personal contact information and instead utilize a secondary, burner phone.

You might use it for work or avoid giving your phone number to businesses who want it.

In the meanwhile, you may use one of the many apps available for both iOS and Android to conceal your phone number and avoid unwanted calls.

A burner phone is similar to a regular phone, except that it hides the identity of the original owner. For this reason, people choose this gadget since they may use it once and then toss it aside and replace the burner with another one.

Unlike when buying a new smartphone, you often don’t have to hand over your personal information to buy one of these phones from a convenience shop or other retailer.

When Should Use a Burner Phone?

Contrary to popular belief, burner phones aren’t always for illegal purposes. There is often no need to increase your level of security to safeguard your identity. 

We’ll explain why getting a burner phone may be a good idea in the following points:

1. Registering for something online

A phone number is usually needed to activate and authenticate accounts across various social networking platforms, internet subscriptions, and services. Some providers, alas, will sell your number to telemarketers who will then flood your inbox with unwanted sales pitches by phone and text. If you want to stop anyone from calling your regular phone, you may give them your burner number instead.

2. Online buying and selling

Because you never know who you’re dealing with when buying and selling online, a throwaway phone is a good way to preserve your privacy when communicating with people you meet via websites like Craigslist.

3. Travel

Because of the increasing potential of mobile phone security risks, the FBI suggested that athletes should utilize burner phones in 2022 during the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.

Possible dangers include:

  • Malware
  • Phishing and email spoofing
  • Ransomware and Spyware Problem
  • Social engaging
  • Conspiracy, espionage, and theft of confidential information

Not only do sportsmen run the danger of having their phones hacked while overseas, but so do academics, members of the media, and business executives.

Secondly, you may want your primary phone to be safe from thieves, In such case, you would like your regular phone should stay at home while you’re away, and you should use a burner phone instead.

Using a disposable phone is another good reason to hide your tracks when you go abroad or save roaming charges. If you purchase it in the country where you’ll be using it, you won’t have to pay your regular wireless provider’s steep roaming c

4. Dating

Even while you can protect your identity by certain dating apps, you will undoubtedly end yourself exchanging phone numbers with possible matches at some time. If your new date turns out to be more a stalker than a romantic interest, a”burner phone might help keep your identity safe.

5. Risky hobbies, occupations, and activities

Consider leaving your iPhone at home in favor of an inexpensive burner phone while engaging in high-risk activities like rock climbing, sailing, or hang gliding. The same holds for hazardous occupations like roofing and farming, as well as for busy events where your phone may be lost, stolen, or smashed.

6. Preventing government tracking

Burner phones are a useful tool for evading surveillance by authorities, and not only for criminals who value their anonymity.

When going to an event where you don’t want your location logged, like a demonstration, a burner phone might come in handy.

7. Abusive relationships

Let’s say you’re trying to escape an abusive relationship but you’re still on your ex’s wireless plan. If that’s the case, using a burner phone to contact reliable, helpful individual is a discreet option.

You may receive the support you need without worrying that your ex will be able to monitor your whereabouts or read your text messages when you use a burner phone.

8. Business and work

Utilizing a burner phone is a great way to keep your private and work life distinct. As an alternative to giving out your number, you may use a burner as a secondary phone if you’re in the coaching or consulting business.

Although numerous applications can do the same thing, you can switch off your burner phone when you’re not at work to prevent it from interrupting your personal life.

9. Whistleblowing

A burner phone may help you remain anonymous when communicating with law enforcement or the media. Especially if your only other option is a work-issued mobile phone, which is probably equipped to send user data back to your company.

10. Backup phone for emergency 

Burner phones are reliable backups to have on hand in case of an urgent situation. Burner phones often have long battery life and users can use them for extended periods between recharges since they only provide limited functionality. 

Further, most burner phones can dial 911 without a calling plan (though adding a calling card at any moment is a good idea).

You may store a burner phone in these locations just in case:

  • Car’s glove compartment
  • Watercraft, such as a boat or a jet ski
  • Backpack or locker of a child
  • Nightstand
  • Places of work with a high potential for danger

As you can see, there are several perfectly acceptable reasons to purchase a burner phone, and because you aren’t trying to elude the law, you don’t have to dump it when you’re done with it or when you’re ready to upgrade. 

Instead of throwing away your old phone, consider selling it to help offset the cost of your new device or donating it to a good cause.


In conclusion, we hope that this piece has shed some light on some of the most salient aspects of burner phones. We’ve discussed what is a burner phone, its uses, and when should you use one. 

If you already have a smartphone and would like not to purchase a traditional burner phone to mask your true phone number, you may use some smartphone burner apps.

We hope we described burner phones well and you now have the information you wanted.

If you have any questions, let us know in the comments and we will do our best to respond to you as soon as possible.


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