Public: Communication: Telephone: Number
Disposable Phone Number   (+11)  [vote for, against]
Phone number that is temporally routed to your phone

A pool of phone numbers, say an exchange or two from every area code, set aside for "temporary" use. The customer can then request a number from the pool for use for a month, and then use it in a classified ad, personal ad, on craigslist, or such. The customer's phone company could provide a distinctive ring, or even route calls placed to the temporary number into a different voicemail box if it falls to voicemail. The customer could extend use of the number for an additional month, but there should probably be some limit. After a number lapses, it would wait in the pool for one month before being reallocated to a different customer.

Disposable phone numbers would never be listed in any directory, nor would there be any cross reference between a customer's temporary disposable number and their real number, except internally within the phone company.
-- JakePatterson, Jun 24 2005

Disposable telephone numbers
Just came across this, thank you for introducing this topic [Sunstone, Feb 10 2006, last modified Apr 19 2007]

Disposable phone numbers
[Sunstone, Feb 10 2006]

Disposable phone numbers
[Sunstone, Feb 10 2006]

Tossable Digits -- Temporary Phone Numbers
Phone numbers that forward to any phone. Cheap and easy. Free Voicemail, Do Not Disturb, Return Calls and hide CallerID [ooglek, Mar 13 2006, last modified Apr 04 2008]

Disposable telephone number
Craigsnumber [Sunstone, Jan 29 2007]

Free U.S. Phone number [Sunstone, Jan 29 2007]

Free anonymous disposable phone number
Auto-expiring phone number that forwards incoming call to your home or mobile phone [Sunstone, Jan 06 2008]

Yes, actually, you can do this right now in most parts of the US. I think the recycle period for a business number is one year, shorter for residential (six months?). You can order a number as "unlisted" to achieve the goals in the last paragraph.

In my area its called "Ringmaster" and costs $5.00 a month extra, or free if you already have the "all you can eat" plan.
-- krelnik, Jun 24 2005

I'm neutral on this. First off I think it a nice idea, but then as with anything nowadays, it can have it's criminal purposes - if monitoring telecommunications is an effective way to catch criminals exploiting them, this may just make things harder for the authorities.

-- kuupuuluu, Jun 26 2005

Phone card?
-- 10clock, Jun 26 2005

There's no techinical barrier to doing this with GSM phones, you can just arrange for a SIM card to correspond to multiple MSISDNs. Still, changing your number isn't hard either. I'll join [kuupuuluu] in indecision.
-- DocBrown, Jun 27 2005

I like this idea. Similar to single use credit card numbers, I think these could also be single use. For example, whilst out on the town, you could give these numbers to hot prospects. When they call back and you are more sober, you know that unless you give them your real number they can't call you again...
-- vincevincevince, Jan 07 2008

So, based on the links, isn't this baked and so should be [MFD]?
-- James Newton, Jan 07 2008

random, halfbakery