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Hobby phone question

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Where do you get them, what does your service cost, and can you pay in cash? And thank you to everyone who has posted about security and personal information recently. I've seen the light. Going to get smarter about this.

Feel free to share any security related ideas I may not have thought of as well.

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No matter which service you get (Virgin, Boost, Cricket, etc.) I suggest paying extra for a smartphone (vs basic flip) with good size screen. I went cheap for awhile but it was a huge PITA - texting was agony and voice quality sucked.

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I went with TracPhone. I agree that texting was a pain with the cheaper phones. I got an LG phone at Walmart, I think it was around $50. Screen is a bit smaller than smartphones, but it is a touch screen and texting is easier. You can buy it and minute refill cards with cash.

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Where do you get them, what does your service cost, and can you pay in cash? And thank you to everyone who has posted about security and personal information recently. I've seen the light. Going to get smarter about this.

Feel free to share any security related ideas I may not have thought of as well.

A "burner" type phone is best. One you buy with cash and can activate with no personal information. Add minutes to it with prepaid cards, and always pay cash for the cards, never use a credit card. Purchases with credit cards/debit cards/reward cards are traceable. Never use it for ANYTHING but hobbying, or for you ladies, contacting your clients. Don't call your Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, cousin, BFF, friends, religious leader, radio contests, NOBODY on it, but ASP's. Use it for awhile, then change phones, and numbers by buying a new one. Don't keep the old phone either, or the SIM card; destroy them by smashing them into little pieces and throw the parts away in different places. If you feel the need to save info from the old phone, buy the new one and transfer info from the old one MANUALLY into the new one. NEVER give out your "hobby" phone number to anyone, and don't put the hobby number in your regular phone. If your hiding your activities from your significant other, never leave your phone where it can be found. Hide it at the office, in your car, in your gym locker, anywhere your SO won't find it. Better yet, erase your activities on the phone daily, so that if it is found it's clean. Do these things so that info in it can't be used against you, by LE, your SO, your family, your boss, the news media, your friends, ANYONE who might have a grudge against you. Safety first, fun second. Or...

you could throw caution to the wind and just wing it...NOT.

bd5671

Take my advice or leave it; But don't leave yourself exposed, to anyone or anything.

The life you save, along with your reputation, may be your own...

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you could throw caution to the wind and just wing it...NOT.

I hate to say it, but this is exactly what I've been doing thus far. No more.

Thanks for the input so far.

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I bought a cheap Tracphone at walmart for 50 bucks. It's great because it has voice to text. This is really handy if you have big thumbs!

I pay 20 bucks every 3 months. Only use it for hobbying. It is password protected and encrypted. Yes, they could eventually get into it, but it will be work.

Use a fake name and real address. No lady has investigated my number enough (at least to my knowledge) to be impressed at my home address, which is 320 West Colfax.

Once the ladies figure out I live at the Denver Mint, they'll be calling ME!

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I just got a new hobby phone. $7 Tracfone and a minimal phone card. Out the door was $29.45. Registration offered to collect my info, but at the bottom of the page is an option to skip, which I chose. Easy setup and seems to work everywhere I travel. I do know VirginMobile wants an email for sure. I can't speak for the others.

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Most would probably say this isn't secure enough, but you can download an app for your smartphone called "cover me," which will give you a second phone number that goes through to your regular phone. You can also disguise the app as something else, like CNN.com, if you have a snoopy friend/ lover who looks at your phone. It costs about $99 for a year, which is ultimately cheaper than what I was using before (trac phone).

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I would agree with BD5671's advice with the exception that I think that trashing the phone and getting a new number on a regular basis is a bit excessive. I recently replaced my crappy old flip phone, that was murder to text with (remember the old nine-button texting?), and got one with a big screen and QWERTY keyboard (Tracfone, $9.99 at Safeway) and it has great voice quality and range to boot. Where I differ with BD is that I did transfer over the number, because a lot of the ladies know you by your phone number. I agree that you should erase all calls, messages, etc., immediately and lock it with a password. My one concession to ease over security is that I have all of my faves saved in the contacts section, and on speed-dial. I don't recommend it in a security sense, but it has come in handy when I get stood up on short notice. Because of this, I am a fanatic about keeping the actual phone securely hidden until hobby day.

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P.S. - The phones usually need to activated from another phone. Do not use your phone for that! I usually buy the phone at Safeway, WalMart, etc., and then go to a nice hotel and use the lobby phone to activate with. On my first one I glanced at a restaurant delivery service flyer on the desk, and used that for the address and reference phone number :) Had no problems at all.

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A "burner" type phone is best. One you buy with cash and can activate with no personal information. Add minutes to it with prepaid cards, and always pay cash for the cards, never use a credit card. Purchases with credit cards/debit cards/reward cards are traceable. Never use it for ANYTHING but hobbying, or for you ladies, contacting your clients. Don't call your Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, cousin, BFF, friends, religious leader, radio contests, NOBODY on it, but ASP's. Use it for awhile, then change phones, and numbers by buying a new one. Don't keep the old phone either, or the SIM card; destroy them by smashing them into little pieces and throw the parts away in different places. If you feel the need to save info from the old phone, buy the new one and transfer info from the old one MANUALLY into the new one. NEVER give out your "hobby" phone number to anyone, and don't put the hobby number in your regular phone. If your hiding your activities from your significant other, never leave your phone where it can be found. Hide it at the office, in your car, in your gym locker, anywhere your SO won't find it. Better yet, erase your activities on the phone daily, so that if it is found it's clean. Do these things so that info in it can't be used against you, by LE, your SO, your family, your boss, the news media, your friends, ANYONE who might have a grudge against you. Safety first, fun second. Or...

you could throw caution to the wind and just wing it...NOT.

bd5671

Take my advice or leave it; But don't leave yourself exposed, to anyone or anything.

The life you save, along with your reputation, may be your own...

I started doing all of these steps exactly about ten years ago and it has not failed me yet. I keep my phones 1-2 years then destroy them. The only tip I would add is never return any calls from people you don't know as they could be a trap. On one of my phones I received calls from a doctor's office about someone's test results. As much as I wanted to call back and just say "you've got the wrong number" I chose not to let anyone hear my voice in case they were trying to make a match. My personal preference has been TracFone and buying 90-day cards. The phone was $10 and the cards run $20 every 90 days. I've only ever srung for the flip phones and agree that texting is a PITA. Spend the money and go smart phone...

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I would agree with BD5671's advice with the exception that I think that trashing the phone and getting a new number on a regular basis is a bit excessive. I recently replaced my crappy old flip phone, that was murder to text with (remember the old nine-button texting?), and got one with a big screen and QWERTY keyboard (Tracfone, $9.99 at Safeway) and it has great voice quality and range to boot. Where I differ with BD is that I did transfer over the number, because a lot of the ladies know you by your phone number. I agree that you should erase all calls, messages, etc., immediately and lock it with a password. My one concession to ease over security is that I have all of my faves saved in the contacts section, and on speed-dial. I don't recommend it in a security sense, but it has come in handy when I get stood up on short notice. Because of this, I am a fanatic about keeping the actual phone securely hidden until hobby day.

Perhaps the "cloak & dagger" stuff was too much for you guys. You can NEVER be to careful regarding hobbying and visiting ASP's on the side, or for fun and pleasure. See the recent thread about "strange checking of profiles". Gentlemen, and Ladies, you are at risk for your information, and your lives, to be exposed for all to see, and for it to be used against you by others. Your phone, your computer, your Ipad, Tablet, etc all contain personal information about you and your actvities that can, and will, be used against you, if you ever get caught. If you think it won't happen to you, you are a bit naive. Ask those recently busted, how information was used against them, to entrap them and others. NEVER THINK YOUR INFO IS SECURE. You are just fooling yourself if you do...

bd5671

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Instead of keeping a separate phone, if you have Android just install Talkatone.

It's a VOIP app that gives you a dedicated number, works with text, and is only available when you run it. It works via WiFi as well as over the carrier's internet access.

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I ported my personal number to Google, then got a pay-as-you-go Sim card. My Google number forwards to my pay-as-you-go number. I use the latter as my hobby number.

If I want to change my hobby number I get another pay-as-you-go Sim card and forward my Google number to it. This works with my unlocked Android phone.

Hobby SMS goes to the default messaging app, and non-hobby texts go to the Google Voice app.

It works nicely if you are not concerned with anyone inspecting your phone.

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I think I mentioned this on here before - but there's very little need to get a separate phone if you have an existing smart phone. Apps like "Burner" are like a fully featured "phone within a phone" with its own number and texting ability.

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Thanks everyone. Going to take care of this today.

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Just heads up Tmobile sells a nice android smart phone for $20... activates for $3 but smallest card you can buy is $10. No personal info needed to activate and you can activate it from the actual phone.

I dont use the phone regularly so i never worry about ppl calling and so forth if I'm not texting or calling on it at that time it is turned off. I call it my batphone as I used it on business trips but now that I hobby it will be used for that as well. Choose a good alias and get use to hearing it or saying it. Tmobile will change number when every you want and the card set up is pretty straight forward 10 cents per text or min and card lasts 3 month minimum.

I say keep phone off and at the office. It looks like an older or cheaper smartphone so if i forget to leave it at work, at home I leave it in a box my nephew has in my garage in case discovered.

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Here is a new messaging system from the Bittorrent folks that uses no server and requires no personal information at all to sign up. This seems like an obviously useful tool for our purposes. It does voice, too.

http://www.bleep.pm/

http://www.fastcompany.com/3046188/bittorrent-rolls-out-bleep-its-super-private-cloud-free-messaging-app

http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/12/8590361/bittorrent-bleep-secure-chat-app-ios-launch

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Follow up hobby phone questions. When you purchase a card with pre-paid minutes, say 60 minutes over 90 days, do the 90 days start ticking off when you buy the card it or when you activate the card? Also, it looks like Trac Phon has the best selection of cheap phones, around $20, but a can't find a local retailer (Colorado Springs) who carries the low-end phones.  Does anyone know of a retailer who carries $20 burner phones in stock that take Trac Phon minutes?  Thanks,

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On 2/25/2015 at 4:04 PM, BadBoy said:

P.S. - The phones usually need to activated from another phone. Do not use your phone for that! I usually buy the phone at Safeway, WalMart, etc., and then go to a nice hotel and use the lobby phone to activate with. On my first one I glanced at a restaurant delivery service flyer on the desk, and used that for the address and reference phone number :) Had no problems at all.

You can also go to a internet cafe or even the library and activate one online. I have a trakfone.

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I have a tracfone android phone...I think it was $50 paid cash and pay cash for refill minutes cards.  Used to have the cheapest one I could get, but it was too hard to text.  I activated online somewhere like a library.  The 90 days start when you activate the card.  I got my latest Tracfone at a Walgreens, which are all over.  Some folks might not want any trace of activity on their regular phone, even a suspicious sounding app, hence a separate burner might be better in some cases.  

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Don't cheap out on the Tracphone, because the really inexpensive ones use the old 9-key to text method (remember?).  Instead of the $20 model, I went ahead and sprung for the $39.00 phone that has a full qwerty keyboard, and can actually connect to the internet in case an e-mail is needed.  It was definitely worth the extra $19.00, especially since it is still going strong after three years (I smashed its predecessor in frustration at how hard it was to text on it).

I hate texting under any circumstances, but it is what a lot of the ladies like, so bear that in mind while shopping.

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I have to add with the smart phones there is an app called sideline it only works when you want it to...Meaning you could download and delete all you want, and never lose your information! Just download the app and log in when Appointment is booked and your there ..Earse the app! 

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Since I'm not smart enough for the prepaid cards and phones from Walmart, I started using that Burner app someone mentioned.  As Sabrina mentioned about Sideline, it can be deleted from an iPhone (also Android) and restored by logging into the app with your mobile phone number. This clearly does not conform to the security model that BD5671 suggests, but I have found it is a reliable and convenient alternative.

Occasionally, the texting feature lags a bit, but that is not a deal breaker for me. Voice is fine, but I rarely use it for calling. The cost is very reasonable -- in my opinion -- at about $5.00 for single line per month for unlimited calls/photos*/texts. I believe this subscription lets you burn two numbers a month, if you need to go that route. You can also password protect access to the app itself (on iOS at least, don't know about Android.) This may stymie the casual snooper.

All in all, I have been pretty happy with it over the past few years.

http://support.burnerapp.com/customer/en/portal/articles/2773546-types-of-burners-and-pricing

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On 9/19/2017 at 5:37 PM, BadBoy said:

Don't cheap out on the Tracphone, because the really inexpensive ones use the old 9-key to text method (remember?).  Instead of the $20 model, I went ahead and sprung for the $39.00 phone that has a full qwerty keyboard, and can actually connect to the internet in case an e-mail is needed.  It was definitely worth the extra $19.00, especially since it is still going strong after three years (I smashed its predecessor in frustration at how hard it was to text on it).

I hate texting under any circumstances, but it is what a lot of the ladies like, so bear that in mind while shopping.

It appears Trac Phone requires an email address to activate. Do you have to use a valid one?  Any security concerns there?

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I have used virgin for many years.  I have a cheap small flip phone that is lousy for texting but is easily concealed in pockets, small spaces.  It also has a removable battery which I remove except for when I'm in the hobbying mode.  I keep the battery in a separate location from the phone so that if the phone is discovered by someone, they won't be able to turn the phone on.

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3 hours ago, Mustang87 said:

It appears Trac Phone requires an email address to activate. Do you have to use a valid one?  Any security concerns there?

It has been so long since I activated it, I don't recall.  If I did, I am sure I used the same e-mail as I use for contacting the ladies, signing up for P411, TOB, etc.  That doesn't worry me - there are lots of things that connect the various thread's of BadBoy's life together, and I don't care if someone discovers those links.  What you must prevent are any links between BadBoy's life (or Mustang87's life in your case) and my other life.  For example, never use that hobby phone to make any form of out-of-hobby phone call, etc. You need to be aware that LE, if motivated enough, can subpoena the records and find out every single number you ever have called from that phone (or that called you).  If they did so with mine, they would find a staggering amount of calls and texts to and from lovely young ladies over the course of the years, so they could figure out what BadBoy used his phone for, but they would never be able to figure out who BadBoy actually is, since there were no phone calls to anyone else.

Time4Fun is pretty security conscious, but I find it to be easier to simply leave the battery in the phone and set the phone up so that you have to enter a password to use it, if you haven't touched a button within the past 5 minutes.  My favored hiding place is in my pocket, and if you are the same, be sure to turn off the ringer!!

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On 10/12/2017 at 5:30 PM, BadBoy said:

It has been so long since I activated it, I don't recall.  If I did, I am sure I used the same e-mail as I use for contacting the ladies, signing up for P411, TOB, etc.

When I got a Tracfone years ago, the page where you fill in your personal information had a "Skip this step" link at the bottom. That has been removed and now you're supposed to fill in everything, but as far as I know Tracfone makes no attempt to verify this information. However, if a working anonymous email account is needed, I recommend Protonmail. Their servers are located in Switzerland and an account can be set up quickly with no identifying information (and can be deleted just as quickly). If you're feeling paranoid, you can set up the account from a Starbucks or some other place with free wifi.

If you're lazy and can't think of a fake name and address, I recommend Fake Name Generator.

LE hates burner phones, and I worry that someday a law will be passed requiring identification to purchase and/or activate a prepaid phone.

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I am a little late to this discussion, but my $0.02...

I've been down this road and have tried several things:

1) Burner: Nice way to compartmentalize things, but there are inconveniences when it comes to depending on a specific physical phone for this stuff, and it can always be found.  I didn't like it.

2) For several years I used CallingVault.com on my phone in incognito mode, and would generally recommend this approach.  The reason I moved away is that they did not appear to have a way of deleting texts, became important at one point.

3) In the last couple of years my "hobbying" has slowed down a little and I have just used a combination of incognito mode on phone plus Google Voice.  Note that I do not link my phone to Google Voice.  I just use the desktop browser page from my phone, which lets me text.  This doens't easily allow for voice calls, but that seems to matter less and less these days.  For when I absolutely must do a voice call, I use a virtual machine running Linux and a standard web browser, and do the call from there.  It's a little clunky, but it's free and makes it easy to compartmentalize my life.

BTW, on laptop and desktop computers, I do all of my hobbying inside of a VM.  I highly recommend doing so.  It's a good way of compartmentalizing and hiding ones tracks.

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