Despite the rise in the use of Internet-based communication methods, including email and social media services such as Facebook and Twitter, the telephone is still the primary means for many when it comes time to talk. Not bad for a technology that has been around a mere 140 years, or so. Fortunately, we have moved way past using a rotary dial phone (ask grandpa – he knows what that is!) to benefiting from VOIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol, technology that allows simple voice communication to jump on the Internet bandwagon.
Introducing the Virtual Phone Number
The latest movement in voice communication combines traditional copper wire phone technology with the latest in Internet-based call routing technology. A virtual phone number takes an existing phone line, which can include a basic home phone, or a cellular line, and layers on sophisticated call routing and call handling features. The entire virtual phone service is web-based, which means there is no equipment you have to deal with, and no complicated setup process.
A virtual phone provider will route incoming calls made to your virtual number to any working phone line, anywhere in the world. You can update the final call destination as often as you want, manually or automatically, with call rules based on time of day, caller ID and other criteria, which are under your full control.
Someone calling your virtual telephone number gets routed to whatever traditional phone line you want, without having to call the traditional line’s number. This allows you to never have to give out your traditional telephone number, while still maintaining full control over who can call you, and gives you the ability to easily block any caller simply by logging into your secure online account.
Virtual Phone Systems Aren’t Just for Businesses
While many virtual phone system providers target the small businesses market, nothing says that individuals can’t take advantage of using these cloud-based systems. Plans start under $10 a month and include one number, with most providers charging $5 a month for additional ones. This allows you to give out your primary virtual number to those that you fully trust, while adding, or subtracting, additional numbers as needed, using them as disposable telephone numbers.
What in the world would you need a disposable telephone number for? Glad you asked! Here are just five of the many uses for a disposable virtual phone number:
1. Selling a Car
Today, it is easier than ever to sell a car on your own. There are many online venues to advertise your vehicle for sale, such as Cars.com and Autotrader.com. This also means that there are many places where your phone number is displayed, as an easy way to contact you.
Having personal experience in this matter, it is only a matter of time before you will start receiving phone calls from dealers, brokers, and other people who you would rather not talk to, all looking at making you a deal you can’t refuse. Use a disposable number in this instance and not only can you block those you don’t want to talk to, but once the vehicle is sold, you just cancel the number (at no charge to you) and you don’t ever have to hear from another ‘honest’ used car dealer again.
2. Classified Ad
In addition to the above example of selling a car, you might also have the need to advertise something else for sale online. For example, you might want to sell your ‘lightly used’ treadmill on Craigslist. Again, you will need someway for people to get in touch with you, but you might not want to give out your permanent phone number. Another perfect case of using a disposable virtual number which you can turn off once the sale has been finalized.
3. Seeking Employment
The Internet makes it easier than ever to plaster your resume everywhere in order to be found by the perfect employer. It also makes it easier than ever to receive calls from every recruiter out there, looking to work with you to find the perfect job placement. Using a virtual phone number while job hunting allows you to control who you talk to, and also lets you know immediately that an incoming call on that number has something to do with a prospective employer.
4. Signing Up for Anything
How many times do you sign up for a membership, grocery store savings card, online sweepstakes, or anything that asks for your phone number, and you have actually given out your real one? If you have, then you may have dealt with some unwanted calls. Spend an extra $5 a month to have an extra virtual number that is used only for signing up for stuff, and have incoming calls go directly to voicemail. You will receive notification via email or text if you receive a new message, giving you the opportunity to ignore the caller, or give them a ring back.
5. Meeting New People
Have you ever met someone who asked for your phone number and you were just a little hesitant to hand it out? After all, they might turn out to be a stalker, a serial killer, or just someone who is really annoying once you get to know them. Instead of using your permanent number, give out a disposable one, allowing you to decide if they are really friend material, or someone that you should sever all ties with. If the latter is the case, you can just block them from ever calling you again, or you can dispose of the number entirely.
An Internet-based phone system is a very handy tool to have, even for individuals who might never have a need to exploit its full potential. However, they are affordable enough for everyone to utilize, and when you factor in the ability to get additional, disposable virtual phone numbers to use as you see fit, it becomes an indispensable communication tool.
About the Author: Marshall Davis writes for Business Service Reviews, a website that reviews web-based products and services which allow entrepreneurs to have a smoother-running operation. Virtual phone numbers are just one of the many cloud-based products that are suitable for businesses, as well as individuals, to use.