HomeGadgetsKey differences between a burner phone & prepaid phone

Key differences between a burner phone & prepaid phone



You may have heard both terms mentioned when it comes to protecting your identity. Though they are tightly connected, they are not about the same thing. Find out about the difference between the burner and prepaid phones, when they are used, and why you should buy temp number instead.

Burner Phones and Prepaid Phones

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Let’s start with prepaid phones. Those are cheap and basic phones with a prepaid amount of minutes and SMS that you can use. After you run out of them, you can buy more or simply stop using the phone. Prepaid phones can be found in retail electronic and discount stores.

A burner phone is a term that describes cheap, discardable phones someone uses for privacy protection with the intention to dispose of them after a few uses, especially if a number is compromised. Prepaid phones are often used as burner phones because they are cheap and it’s hard to trace an owner through them. When smartphones took over, people gave preference to “burner SIMs,” which are cheap prepaid SIM cards that users can switch between and throw away later.

Who Uses Burner Phones?

Burner phones and SIM cards are used when a person doesn’t want to use their regular number, which can be traced back to them. You can often see movie villains breaking their phones after discussing crime details, like in the Breaking Bad series or The Wire, which coined the phrase.

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It doesn’t mean that burner phones are used exclusively for shady activity. Some may use them to avoid annoying calls from phone marketeers or register on a website they don’t feel comfortable about. Though getting a temporary virtual number is a better option for the latter case.

Alternatives to Burner and Prepaid Phones

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In many cases, getting a prepaid phone is unnecessary to get a job done. If all you need is to get a security code for registration, it’s better to buy a virtual number and temporary receive SMS after which the phone gets discarded itself. Virtual numbers don’t require buying additional hardware and are available from any device via the internet.


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Krishna Mali
Krishna Mali
Founder, CEO & Group Editor of TechGraph.

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