Burner app provides privacy with disposable phone numbers

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Relentless phone calls, threatening voicemails. A bad dating experience with a man Cynthia Kron had known for only a short time left her shaken and afraid.

"He was calling and leaving harassing and obscene messages consistently and it scared me. I filed a police report but I don't know enough about him to find him and file a restraining order," Kron said.

Instead of cutting off her social life, Kron decided to do something about it. She got a new number, changed her routine and armed herself with an app.

"I burn the number, it's gone, done," she says, referring to the Burner app.

Kron says the Burner app gives her a layer of privacy she didn't have before. With the Burner app and her Android or Apple iPhone, she can create unlimited different phone numbers at the touch of a button.

"If I meet a man that wants to exchange contact details with me, I don't give him my real phone number," Kron said.

When you make a call through the app, the app hides Kron's real number and provides a random one. That number shows up as her caller ID and people can reach her on that number. One tap she makes can eliminate the number entirely.

Xavier Ramirez is in marketing, running social media sites for several local bands. The Burner app allows him to keep important information out of the public eye.

"I can create different phone numbers per project, per client, per band, per tour," Ramirez said.

He uses Burner in his personal life too.

"I use it for getting rid of stuff on Craigslist. I use it for Uber, if the driver calls me I know that's an Uber driver. I use it for food delivery," Ramirez said.

Downloading Burner is free. You pay to get credits depending on how many numbers you want to generate and how many texts and minutes you would use. For example, eight phone numbers plus unlimited text and minutes costs $4.99 a month.

There are other apps out there that create and burn phone numbers, such as Google Voice. Ramirez, however, says he prefers Burner because he can do more with it.

Kron says she's learned a lot and never wants to feel that vulnerable again. In fact, she now runs a dating site called "Catholics Click" and advises daters on how they can protect themselves.

"We're definitely trying to help people learn how to feel comfortable getting to know somebody and not feel scared and yet still be smart," Kron said. "It gives me a lot of peace of mind to know that I'm safe."
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