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Phone number alias

Spam-free phone
  [vote for,

After reading mecoterill's "Delete My Number", I thought about different ways of solving the problem of making it hard for a certain party to call you. I would love an equivalent of the solution I am currently using to protect my email from spam: the ability to create *aliases*.

My current email address is a very long, crazy name, which I never reveal to anyone. I only ever give out aliases. Email sent to an alias is then simply redirected to my actual mailbox.

Of course I have a "standard" alias which I give out to my friends, and another "standard" for work purposes. But as soon as I create an online account at, say, a store, I create a specific alias. That way, if they start spamming me, or sell my email address to someone else who starts spamming, I can simply delete the alias and have peace.

Phone number aliases are basically "limited time and exclusive use" phone numbers, given to parties which you may want to break contact with.

placid_turmoil, Feb 17 2009

Delete My Number Delete_20My_20Number
mecotteril's idea [placid_turmoil, Feb 17 2009]


       Nice, I used to do this extensively, until I started forgetting what my old alias passwords were and they started getting culled after filling to their limit (yes, it was in the old days of limited size mailboxes) but with the brave new world of bottomless mail-accounts this seems to work quite well - for email - and, in extension, telephone numbers.   

       Which makes me suddenly think of a prediction - at some point in the next 10 years, the phone number will become a thing of the past - we will instead use web-address style identifiers for voice communications (this already happens to some extent when you 'save' a number in your phone under an identifier chosen by yourself. Initially, this new mapping sit atop the existing phone-number network (and in many cases, the top-level mapping might default to the underlying number) but over time, as voip becomes more readily available, and the number of numeric-only keypads dwindles, the "phone number" as such will become obsolete, and be replaced by a mac or ip address combination at the machine level, and some registered id at the human level.
zen_tom, Feb 17 2009

       I've thought about doing this, but as usual ended up here instead:

       If you have your own mail server you can create a unique e-mail for each legitimate contact, ie: if your name was Dick Medfield, you'd tell Tom Jones to use the e-mail:   


       or if you had to deal with Microsoft Tech Support:   


       thus when you started to get spam you send them a nasty note and delete their address from your server or if it's somebody you need to keep in touch with, send them a nasty note and a change of email form.
FlyingToaster, Feb 17 2009

       // we will instead use web-address style identifiers for voice communications // I agree, I think it might take even less than ten years. At that point it will be important to be in full control of your "human level" ids.   

       // Cheap pre-paid cellphones // Interesting technique. Although you would probably have to pay a bit for the forwarding (I know I do). Plus you need to keep one cell phone per number permanently charged and connected.   

       // a unique e-mail for each legitimate contact // That's the ultimate version of my system. I'm not quite at "trust no one" just yet ;)
placid_turmoil, Feb 19 2009

       //not quite at "trust no one" just yet//
well, I haven't done it myself, but if I had my own mail-server I probably would just to try it out... the theory is you give out a generic e-mail addy for temporary contacts (which you change every once-in-awhile when the spam starts piling up) and a specific contact addy for each person/business that you know you will continue to associate with (and then only change if they get hit with an e-mail worm or have decided to send your name to viagra.com or something).

       You could do the same with phone numbers and extensions if you have a machine: give each friend and business contact their own extension number (say the letters in their name), so if somebody calls and doesn't punch in a valid extension you don't feel obligated to answer the phone in case it's somebody you know.
FlyingToaster, Feb 19 2009

       Hi, yes I think this would work, though I must admit I don't quite understand how it works!   

       It sounds a bit like public/private key encryption - you have a key or phone number(s) that you can give out and a private key or number which these redirect to. Or like zen_tom suggests you could just have an 'id' which you give out and all the number and key handling is done in the background, each time you give it out it's different and for each person you can simply disconnect them from your id so the link is severed.
mecotterill, Feb 21 2009


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