Are Burner Phones Still Used?

Burner Phones

The term “burner phone” has been around for quite some time now, with many associating it with shady dealings frequently seen on various true crime television shows. You may find yourself wondering, “Are burner phones still used?”

Let’s explore.

First, let’s define what a burner phone is. It’s a prepaid mobile phone used for temporary or anonymous communication. Burner phones are often associated with people who don’t want to be tracked or identified, such as drug dealers, criminals, or people who are involved in illicit activities. 

However, they can also be used by individuals who want to maintain their privacy or protect their personal information. Celebrities, high-profile executives, or even individuals involved in brokering a high-stakes business deal can all benefit from using a burner phone at times.

While burner phones may have been popular in the past, technological advancements have made them less necessary. For instance, people can now use a phone number app to communicate anonymously and keep their personal numbers private. 

Another reason why burner phones may be less popular now is that law enforcement agencies have become more sophisticated in their tracking methods. Burner phones can still be traced through the use of cell site location data, which can track the location of a phone based on the cell tower it’s connected to. Law enforcement agencies have sometimes used Stingray devices to intercept and track cell phone signals.

However, while burner phones may not be as popular as they once were, there are still some situations where they may be useful. Here are some examples:

1. Traveling Abroad

If you’re traveling to a foreign country, purchasing a local burner phone may be cheaper and more convenient instead of using your regular phone. Burner phones can be purchased in many countries for a low cost and can be used for local calls and data without incurring expensive roaming charges. This will allow you to browse Instagram, upload to TikTok, and use mapping apps freely without worry.

This is especially a good idea in the professional world. This allows employees traveling abroad to stay connected with family and colleagues back home for an affordable and reasonable price.

2. Protecting Privacy

If you are concerned about your privacy, using a burner phone can effectively protect your personal information. For instance, if you’re buying or selling something online, you may not want to give out your personal phone number. Using a burner phone can allow you to keep your personal number private while still being able to communicate with the other party.

Many well-known public figures, such as business executives or celebrities, frequently keep a burner phone (or two) on hand for certain situations where they need to communicate with certain people but can’t risk their personal phone number being leaked to the public. Imagine the chaos if an A-lister’s personal phone number was leaked because she gave it to a restaurant or a staff member! 

3. Temporary Communication

If you need to communicate with someone temporarily, such as for a job interview or a rental application, a burner phone can be a good option. You can purchase a prepaid phone and use it for the duration of the communication, then dispose of it once you’re done.

4. Emergency Situations

Having a burner phone as a backup can be useful if you live in an area prone to natural disasters or other emergencies. Many major towers could go down in times of hurricanes, tornadoes, or devastating flooding. If everyone in your household is on the same network, you might be up a creek without a paddle.

Burner phones can still be used to make emergency calls even if your regular phone service is down or unavailable. In times of need, this second lifeline can be invaluable. 

5. Telemarketing Calls

Using a burner phone can be a smart option if you’re tired of receiving telemarketing calls (and, honestly, who isn’t?). You can use a prepaid phone and give out that number instead of your regular phone number. This can help reduce the number of unwanted calls you receive and keep your regular phone silent.

A Necessity for Some

Burner phones may not be as popular as they once were. Still, advances in technology have made it possible to communicate anonymously or protect personal information without the need for a burner phone. However, there are still situations where they may be quite useful. In certain situations, such as traveling abroad or protecting your privacy, a burner phone can still be a good option. 

Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to decide whether a burner phone is necessary for their specific situation. Still, it’s safe to say they maintain a degree of necessity for people in certain situations.

Article and permission to publish here provided by Nikki Gabriel. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on May 17, 2023.