Many women can relate to the dating woes of 20-year-old Megan: Men she has no romantic interest in persistently ask for her phone number, but she’s concerned they’ll react poorly if she declines.
The Texas resident, who goes by the username daree-to-dream on Tumblr, has found a clever solution to stay safe while avoiding confrontation with men who want her number. Instead of giving out her real digits, Megan started giving out a Google Voice number to unwanted suitors.
In a now-viral Tumblr post, Megan explains that any “creepy guy” who tries to call or text her Google Voice number on the spot will reach her actual phone. However, because it’s a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) number, the recipient won’t be able to look Megan up later using a reverse phone search to get her real name and contact information.
“Pick a fake name … then download the Google Voice app, hook it up to your email, pick a number and set up a fake greeting with your fake name,” Megan wrote in her post, which has racked up 85,000 notes (likes and reblogs) on Tumblr since it was published last year. “You can set it to ring your actual phone like a normal call or text but they don’t have real info on you.”
“Go forth and don’t get murdered, ladies!” added Megan, who wrote that women may fear getting “gutted in a back alley” if they refuse to give a man their phone number.Reverse Phone Number Lookup
How do VoIP numbers work?
VoIP is an increasingly common technology that allows for telephone service through an internet connection, rather than a landline or cell tower signal. Common VoIP service providers (beyond Google Voice) include RingCentral, 8x8, Jive and Dialpad.
Unlike phone numbers that are serviced by telephone companies, VoIP numbers generally will not return any results when you look them up using a reverse phone service. This provides a safety net for individuals who use VoIP numbers the way Megan described in her Tumblr post, but unfortunately it also makes the technology attractive for scammers who don’t want to be traced.
Neighbor spoofing, for instance, is commonly associated with VoIP, as scammers often leverage the technology to mimic the first three or six digits on their victims’ caller ID. That’s why, if you try to look up a spoofed phone number, you’re unlikely to get a valid result.
Of course, if your reverse phone search of that number you scored at the bar also turns up no results, you might be on the receiving end of Megan’s suggested “fake number” trick. In this case, you might want to reconsider your strategy for picking up romantic partners.