I am in the process of experimenting and reviewing the different phone services available that can be used for burner phones. Over the next few months I hope to bring you the inside story on all the phones that I personally experiment with and use in the privacy field when it really matters. Today I’m sharing my experience with Net 10 Wireless. ..
If you have any questions about the frame work and necessities of a burner phone I recommend you read the blog I wrote called “What is a Burner Phone? How Can it Help Me?” https://privacyliving.com/2016/05/17/what-is-a-burner-phone-how-can-it-help-me/
I initially spent around $70 at a dollar store buying a ZTE smart phone and a Net 10 phone card that would give me 1000 minutes. (I like the ZTE because to me it seems easy to navigate and the price is usually reasonable on the ones with the small screen. I just hate spending a lot of money on a phone that I know is going to end up in the bottom of a swamp soon.) However, this is strike one for Net 10 because it turns out that the 1000 minute phone card was not “compatible”.
How Did I Figure Out Compatibility?
Here comes strike 2. The way you activate the Net 10 plan is by either logging into a website or entering a code on the back of the phone card or by calling a 1-800 number and doing the same. The problem is the phone is not active when you get it. So you have to either use a separate computer or phone to activate the account. Since I think Waffle House is the last place on the planet that actually has payphones in its parking lot anymore, and I was nowhere near a Waffle House, I had to use the laptop computer of a trusted source in order to attempt to activate the account. That unfortunately created a link between my friend and my burner phone. This is no good. All Net 10 Wireless would have to do is create 611 access on all of their phones prior to activation and this way a new purchaser could use the actual burner phone to activate that specific phone without establishing a trail.
I then had to use one of my old burner phones to make contact with customer service and find out why my phone card was not compatible. (Yet, another trail leading to a phone that may or may not be mine. Not good) As it turns out, they don’t do a minute plan for smart phones and I was required to buy another unlimited phone card for $50 more. Then I was able to return to another computer (another trail) and activate my phone.
The next problem came when my internet service was not working at all. This forced me to call 611 and speak to customer service. (This of course leaves an opportunity for someone to trace my voice). Customer service at Net 10 Wireless was excellent and I give them a good grade for their technical support. The only problem is that this again, was not necessary and my internet should have been active from the day I activated the phone. If I had been in a jam I wouldn’t have had the time to sort this out and it could have ruined an entire operation.
There is one last problem. I was smart enough to make the call from a very busy intersection next to an interstate highway and another major highway but for some reason they needed my address to remotely work on the phone. I didn’t find it suspicious at the time because this is just an experiment. But how scared I would have been if I was in the middle of something big and I had to risk my safety so that my internet could be repaired.
Some of the issues I had could have been prevented and If I were to start over right now, I believe I could get the same phone to be anonymous but it would still require some creativity. Just remember that with Net 10 you can use a friend’s computer or phone to activate it and as long as that friend doesn’t crack under interrogation, then you have a good anonymous burner phone. If you don’t think that is possible then maybe Net 10 is not for you. As far as using the web, I can’t say if that was business as usual for them or if you won’t have any problems.
I give Net 10 Wireless a grade of C+ because even in the conditions I described here, it will still shield you from most trouble. There are a few things they could do better but I am glad there are companies out there like Net 10 that don’t involve giving a name and address.