Masked Phone Numbers: Heroes or Villains?

Zoro, Batman, Spider-Man, and phone numbers. All with one thing in common: they wear masks… sometimes.

But is masking your phone number somehow deceitful? Or does it have more practical and wholesome applications that aren’t so obvious? Let’s take a look at we take a look at masked phone numbers, their purpose, how they’re masked, and the positives and negatives of doing so.

What are Masked Phone Numbers?

In its simplest terms, a masked phone number is one that appears differently on the receivers’ end of the call. Masked numbers have plenty of uses (both good and bad). But they’re ultimately a method of making sure that the person you’re calling can’t see your real number.

Masked Phone Numbers vs Virtual Numbers (Fight!)

I’m not sure about you, but when I was first looking into this, information about the differences between a masked number and a virtual number was hard to come by. So what is the difference?

It pretty much comes down to one concept. While a virtual number can be the permanent number of a business or stakeholder, a masked number is temporarily assigned to a specific end-user for the period of the transaction, rather than a permanently assigned number. After the transaction has ended it can be assigned to another end-user and so on.

What’s the point of a masked phone number?

The first reaction to the idea of a masked number is almost always a negative one. People tend to think of the more insidious side of pushy-sales, prank calls, and scammers. There are, however, quite a few positive use cases for a masked phone number.

Masked Phone number diagram

The Sharing Economy

When it comes to sharing economy platforms, privacy is just as important as the ‘flexibility’ behind the whole concept.

We’ve all used products like Uber, Airbnb or Etsy before. And we all know how important it can be to communicate with someone you might be sharing a cab with or renting an apartment from. But when two people need to freely communicate, the idea of exchanging personal information to a complete stranger comes with a whole host of problems and anxieties. The solution? Masked numbers.

Using masked numbers in a sharing economy app means that a transaction can take place without two people ever having to exchange a personal phone number. After the transaction is complete, they can end their interaction without any concerns over personal security or future misdials.

Medicine

The world of medicine is a very sensitive one. Patient-doctor confidentiality is a matter of law and so, to restrict the amount of info passing between one party and another, masked phone numbers are a good option.

Phone-based consultations and medical assessments are private affairs. Not everyone wants their number to be seen by a stranger, whether or not they’re speaking to a medical professional. With app-based medical care gaining traction, the ability to text and call a doctor with 100% privacy is something number masking provides a clear solution for.

Dating Apps

This one is pretty straightforward. You’re talking to someone in-app or on a dating site and want to hear them on the phone or trade texts. In-app phone number masking helps avoid the possible awkwardness or dangers of handing over your private phone number. Ah, the wonders of modern dating.

How do you set up number masking?

A number of platforms allow you to set up number masking without much trouble. But if you need solid infrastructure and a large bank of phone numbers for your operation, you might want to combine a couple of services together.

With Voxbone, it’s quite easy to set up number masking capabilities on a platform of your choice once you’ve created an account with us. And if you’re interested in using us alongside your current platform or service, take a look at how you can use us in a ‘bring your carrier’ (BYOC) capacity.